Around Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

Agra was the formal capital of the Mughal empire, due to its significance many historic sites exist around Agra.

After visiting the Taj we decided to explore some of the popular historic sites, as all the sites were in different directions we arranged for a rickshaw. After some negotiations we settled for around 200 rupees with the condition we had to visit some shops after. It sounded like a good deal at the time.

The drivers split us into two rickshaws which halved the work, and double their return on commissions, though it did allow us to take some nice photos of the journey as well.

Sonya and the rickshaw tour guideTravis laid back and talking to the rickshaw driverSonya blending in on the Indian roads

  1. Taj Mahal
  2. Agra Fort
  3. Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb
  4. Mehtab Bagh

Agra Fort

A beautiful red sandstone fort conquered and modified by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a marble balcony provided clear views to the Taj Mahal. What I found really interesting was the story of the peacock throne, the name of a throne created by  Mughal Badshah Shah Jahan previously standing in the the Diwan-i-Am  or public audience hall located inside Agra Fort. We had seen a similarly named Peacock Thrown in Iran, known as the Naderi Throne, now located in the National Treasure of the Central Bank of Iran, Tehran.

The Lahore Gate the main tourist entrance to the Agra FortWatch tower on the Agra Forts internal wallsSmall internal gate to the Court of Amar Singh Gate
Map of Agra FortOne of the entrance gates to Diwan i Am SquareThe carved red sandstone of the Jahangir Mahal
Sonya at the Agra Fort with carved red sandstone in the backgroundInternal carved red sandstone reliefs of the Jahangir MahalNow defunct water feature inside the Jahangir Mahal
The halls of the Jahangir Mahal or palace for women belonging to the royal householdThe Taj Mahal viewed from Agra FortTravis fitting in as a local, camera and Lonely Planet in hand
Court between the Jahangir Mahal and Yamuna RiverDiwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)One of the many arches in the Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)
Semi precious stones inlaid in the white marble of the Diwan I AmUnused water feature inside the Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)The white marble patterned floors of the Diwan I Am
Sonya in the column courtyard of the Diwan I AmView of Musamman Burj from northwest, with the Yamuna river and the Taj MahalThe black throne of Jehangir
Arches of the Diwan-i-KhaasMonkey on the roof of the Agra Fort wallsAgra Fort wall viewed from the south

Itmad-ud-Daula’s Tomb (Baby Taj)

One of the popular attractions all the rickshaw drivers advertise they can take you to, I didn’t have very high expectations, thinking why would I want to see the Taj on a less grand scale. It turned out the lack of other tourists was quite pleasant.

What was a sight, around sunset a troop of monkeys migrated across the garden grounds, as usual we couldn’t resist taking many photos.

The Tomb of Etimad Ud Doulah 1628The Baby TajJali screens of intricately carved white marble
White marble with set coloured stones at the Baby TajTourist Travis outside the walls of the Baby TajCupola of the Baby Taj minaret
Detail of one of the exterior walls of the Baby TajSonya with the intricate internal white marble walls encrusted with semi-precious stone decorationSonya with the intricate internal white marble walls encrusted with semi-precious stone decoration
Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb inside the Baby TajFloral paintings inside the Baby TajOne of the four red stone gates
One of the four red stone gates on all sides of the Mini TajThe Baby Taj or Mini TajThe Baby Taj or Mini Taj
Sonya and Travis at the Baby TajBaby monkey with motherMonkey sitting on scaffolding
Monkey looking busy on some scaffoldingAt sunset a troop of monkeys migrate across the gardensMonkey looking amused

Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden)

Our final real stop was the Moonlight Garden, located across the Yamuna River directly opposite the Taj Mahal. It provided nice views of the Taj Mahal from behind, not normally seen.

Two local Indian girls carrying bags of grass clippings on their headsView of the Taj Mahal seen from the Mehtab Bagh gardensSonya and Travis with the Taj Mahal in the background

This concluded our tour, so now was time to meet our side of the bargain and visit some stores, every store we visited the drivers got 50 rupees each. After the second store the ‘just looking’ got quite tiresome, we had a very hard time trying to shake a seller of ‘star stone’ a black star sapphire apparently commonly found in Agra.