Today was our second day of exploring the city of the Taj Mahal – Agra. Although the Taj Mahal is the biggest tourism attraction to this town – it also has some other amazing places that we got to see and explore.
First on the list was the beautiful “Baby Taj” – this is actually where the story and the inspiration of the Taj Mahal began…
The “Baby Taj” mausoleum was built by Nur Jahan for her father, Mizra Ghiyas Beg. Mirza Ghiyas Beg was also the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan (the creator of the Taj Mahal) and it is believed that he drew all his inspiration from the baby Taj(Taj meaning palace) to create the Taj Mahal for his wife at a later stage.
What blew me away was all the detail of the this place, especially the carvings in the white marble and all the precious stones that was placed inside the marble to create the beautiful colors – no paint was used here to create the colors – it is all done by hand and with gemstones! It took only 8 years to complete and 8000 people helped in creating this amazing little “jewel box”.
The entrance of the “Baby Taj” – pretty much exactly the same as the entrance of the Taj Mahal:
After seeing this beautiful building we moved onto the famous Agra Red Fort. This fort was a palace that was built by the Mughals and the Sultan of Delhi was the first person to live here. He governed the country from this fort and after he died, his son kept the fort “imprisoned” for 9 years until he was defeated in 1526.
In 1558 the fort was in a really bad condition and Akbar – who defeated the previous king, renovated the fort by using red sandstone. It took 4000 workers and 8 years to renovate the fort. Akbar was the grandfather of Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal) and once he took over the reign of the country – he renovated the Red Fort into the state you see today. Filled with white marble and creative carvings, Shah Jahan made this fort as beautiful as all his other buildings.
Details that are typical to Shah Jahan’s designs:
My biggest wish is to be able to see this fort when all the wives of Shah Jahan lived here with all their servants, the gold in the walls, the rose petal and perfume baths and entertainment in the courtyard – it must have been spectacular and so glamorous!
This was the highlight of our day in Agra today – we got back to Jaypee Palace hotel for an afternoon at the spa and tomorrow we make our way to Jaipur – where adventure and loads of shopping awaits according to our tour guide!