Agra Fort – A contrast to Love


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Contrasting the love that surrounded the building of the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort ended up being a prison for Emperor Shah Jahan.  Shah Jahan had become ill, and though he eventually fully recovered, his eldest son declared him incompetent and put him under house arrest.

Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort, from which he had a view of the building erected for his deceased wife. Shah Jahan is said to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower with a beautiful marble balcony. ~Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

Can you imagine? The ONLY view you have of a monument you built out of love is from a prison created by your child.  Wow!!! It blows me away.  Of course we all know there are always two sides to every story.  I like to use my imagination as to what might have actually happened.  If you are interested in finding out you’ll have to research it yourself.  I do know that his oldest daughter chose to live with him in confinement for his 8 final years of life.  What a story.

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Agra Fort (Hindiआगरा का किलाUrduآگرہ قلعہ‎) is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It should be noted that the fort was not built as a prison and it had been around since at least the 11th century.  Many other rulers used it and lived in it.  Incredibly huge and impressive.  When I say huge, you cannot imagine how huge unless you actually go there.  I spent about an hour walking around and came no where near to seeing even half of it.  It truly was a walled city.

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Just a few more pictures to give you a bit of an idea of how huge this place actually was.

Long Description —
The Red Fort and the Taj Mahal bear an exceptional and complementary testimony to a civilization which has disappeared, that of the Mogul Emperors. Agra’s history goes back more than 2,500 years, but it was not until the reign of the Mughals that Agra became more than a provincial city. Humayun, son of the founder of the Mogul Empire, was offered jewellery and precious stones by the family of the Raja of Gwalior, one of them the famous Koh-i-Noor. The heyday of Agra came with the reign of Humayun’s son, Akbar the Great. During his reign, the main part of the Agra Fort was built.

The Red Fort of Agra is a powerful fortress founded in 1565 by the Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) on the right bank of the Yamuna; it is placed today on the north-west extremity of the Shah Jahan Gardens which surround the Taj Mahal and clearly form, with them, a monumental unity.

This bastioned fortress, with walls of red sandstone rising above a moat and interrupted by graceful curves and lofty bastions, encompasses within its enclosure walls of 2.5 km, the imperial city of the Mogul rulers. Like the Delhi Fort, that of Agra is one of the most obvious symbols of the Mogul grandeur which asserted itself under Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

The wall has two gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate. The original and grandest entrance was through the Delhi Gate, which leads to the inner portal called the Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate. But now the entrance to the fort is only through the Amar Singh Gate.

The citadel comprises a large number of fairy-like palaces: the Khas Mahal, the Shish Mahal, the octagonal tower of Muhammam Burj, as well as reception rooms: Diwan-i-Khas, built in 1637 and the many pillared Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), constructed in 1628, under the reign of the luxury-loving Shah Jahan (1630-55). Within the palatial complex, there are two very beautiful mosques of white marble, the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque, constructed in 1646-53 by Shah Jahan and the Nagina Masjid built under the reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707).

Several of the buildings are made from pure marble with beautiful carvings; all of these monuments mark the apogee of an Indo-Muslim art strongly marked by influences from Persia which already manifested itself in Timurid art.

Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort, from which he had a view of the building erected for his deceased wife. Shah Jahan is said to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower with a beautiful marble balcony. ~~ Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

Daily Post Photo Challenge – Contrasts.  Other posts of the same genre I enjoyed.

  1. Ungemaltes – Contrasts
  2. Captured with my Phone – Contrasts
  3. Under the Monkey Tree – Contrasts
  4. the Red Cyclist 
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  6. Ohm Sweet Ohm – Contrast
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  11. Stephen Chapman – Contrast
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  15. Photographs by Katharine – Contrast
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The Taj Mahal


Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator’s glory.

– Emperor Shah Jahan

I do not have much to say about the Taj Mahal except that if you have a chance, you should visit this monument that was built out of love.  It was allegedly constructed in honor of Emperor Shah Jehan’s third wife who died during the birth of her 14th child. Or at least that’s the story I heard.

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The entire structure has complex design elements to include sculpted marble, detailed carvings, inlay stones made of marble, jasper and jade, calligraphy made of jasper and black marble with inlaid white marble panels.  The details were absolutely amazing. Based on Islamic prohibitions of the time, the decorations are mostly simple and complex abstract forms and such as flowers, colorful designs or calligraphy.  It was truly a sight to behold.

 

Architecture is not an inspirational business, it’s a rational procedure to do sensible and hopefully beautiful things; that’s all. ~~Harry Seidler

Other inspiring posts I liked:

  1. Daily Post’s Between
  2. Where’s my BackPack Travel Theme Shine
  3. Daily Post Photo Challenge:  On Top
  4. Wind Against Current – Extra
  5. Travel Theme : Shine | That Montreal Girl
  6. Extra – Koi and Flower
  7. The Ambition Drifter: What’s on Top
  8. Ajua Beach Between the Rocks | Unique So Chic
  9. I spy a KISS guy – B’s Words
  10. 2812 Photography – Extra
  11. Uncle Spike’s Adventures:  On top
  12. Travel Theme: Shine | Drawing with Light
  13. Photo Roberts blog – extra
  14. Wise Monkey Abroad
  15. Scottseyephotos – on top
  16. Indomoto – between
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Between & Travel Theme: Shine | WordsVisual
  18. Chittle Chattle – Between
  19. Travel Theme-Shine | WoollyMuses
  20. A Mom’s Blog – On top
  21. TomWarren Photo – Between
  22. Travel theme: Shine « Sasieology
  23. Stephen Chapman – Top
  24. Ese’s Voice – Between
  25. Travel Theme: Shine | Wind Against Current
  26. In a Snap
  27. Travel Theme: Shine | Northwest Frame of Mind
  28. Undefined by Design – Between Laughter.
  29. Wind Against Current – Between
  30. Daily Post Extra Extra
  31. Travel Theme: Shine | Miscellaneous Eclectica
  32. My vivid visions
  33. Hope the Happy Hugger
  34. Travel theme: Shine | Stefano Scheda
  35. Grit and Satin – On Top
  36. Weekly Photo Challenge: ON TOP | The Adventures of Iñigo Boy
  37. Humbled Pie – Between
  38. Weekly Photo Challenge – On top – Looking down. |

Moon Garden


 No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson

So back to India.  Arriving in Agra on a Friday was a brilliant plan because the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.  Doesn’t sound like a brilliant plan does it.  Well, arriving when the Taj was closed allowed us to visit all of the places I have shown you so far.  We were also able to get a pre-sampling of the Taj in all of its glory from the Mehtab Bagh (Hindiमेहताब बाग़Urdu:ماہتاب باغ‎, translationMoonlight Garden). DSC01262 This was a beautiful garden spot across a little river and mort of the Taj Mahal complex with Agra Fort on the other side of the Taj.  I have read different stories from different sources that claim the garden was built by Shah Jahan in the 1600s or that it was built by the Emperor Babur in the mid 1500s but the truth of the matter is I could care less who built it.  It was amazing to walk through this garden, smelling the flowers and watching the people tend it and suddenly look up and see the amazingness of the Taj Mahal across the river. DSC01268 We were a little concerned that by sneaking a peak at the Taj from this angle might ruin the first grand impression of the hall the next morning, but not to worry.  The next day it was still a shocking and grand surprise. Just a few more of my favorite photos of this evening.

There is a legend that surrounds this area which I will go into more detail on in a future post.  Just a taste though…

The garden was designed as an integral part of the Taj complex in the riverfront terrace pattern. Its width was identical to that of the rest of the Taj.[2] Legends attributed to the travelogue of the 17th century French traveler Jean Baptiste Tavernier) mention the wish of Shah Jahan to building a black marble mausoleum for himself, as a twin to the Taj; however, this could not be achieved as he was imprisoned by his sonAurangzeb. – WIKIPEDIA

Sponsored by Travel theme: Gardens (March 14)

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Ultimate Place to Relax – Spokane


Ok a break from my travels and a reminder of where I really come from… Just so you know.. NONE of the photos or videos are my own.

I haven’t posted anything about my hometown in quite awhile and today someone asked me about where I am from because I am considering buying a house back there.  As I researched places to show this family, I once again fell in love with my favorite place to go and relax.  So here you go.. just some info to give you a bit of insight about me and where I am from.  I hope you enjoy.

Thanks to Jakesprinter for this theme from March 17.

Just so ya know…. My home town — the people, the sights, the creativity.. stop in a spell and just enjoy it.

Voted one of the top 100 places to live — BEST PLACE TO LAUNCH/LIVE

SPOKANE, WA – just some facts. 

spo skybridge

spo raging river

I once bought dinner for a family of 5 and my own family of 3 for under $18 USD.. yeah.. watch for wonder #1….so true

spo sky shot downtown

spo snow

spo colors bridge

spo close up arial downtown

Spo river imax

spo downtown

spo airial downtown

spo bridge

Other favorite places to relax:

  1. A Place to Relax | The Day After →
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  3. Sunday Post- Place to Relax | Indira’s Blog
  4. Sunday Post: A Place To Relax | Cee’s Photography →
  5. Sunday Post: Place to Relax | Edge of the Forest
  6. Jake’s Sunday Post – Place To Relax | imexcited
  7. Nurturing Thursday: Take Off on a Magic Sofa Ride | Light Words
  8. Sunday Post: A Place to Relax | Lady K’s Lounge →
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  14. Relaxing in Sitges | Travel with Intent →
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Jodhbai’s Palace India


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A garden like feel in a ancient palace in Fatehpur Sikri, India.  Because the Taj was closed on Friday we decided to stop in at a very impressive palace.  It was definitely a worthwhile stop.  However, first a very brief and twisted digression to this great trip.

It was so very hot outside and as you will see in this post and a few of my other posts how many women here dress.  They wear amazing, lovely, decorative, vibrant and colorful clothing. It’s usually draped around their bodies in a beautiful fashion as well.

Now the twist!!! Imagine wearing one of the above outfits and trying to climb stairs and cross uneven ground and wrestle children from one place to another.  I’m not lying, people were falling left and right. Not just the women in the dresses either. Every time it happened my stomach would lurch.  In my life i have never witnessed such a twisted reaction to someone else’s bad luck than I did on this incredibly hot day.  As my group began to cross one of the courtyards, one of these lovely ladies became tangled in her dress and fell in such a way she could not even reach her hands out to catch herself.  We were over 20 feet away and actually heard her hit the ground.  As we gasped in shock we heard an entire family hysterically cackling, looking a the woman and pointing at her.  Yeah, laughing at her unfortunate situation. As the fallen woman’s family helped her up and over into the shade. It was obvious she was very shaken and very believable that she might have suffered a concussion. Still they laughed and pointed.  Only after one of the laughing hyenas saw me snap this picture and look disgustedly at her entire family did she have the decency to stop laughing.  Sadly her family did not. For some reason the sad plight of another was just one more thing to laugh about.  Twisted right?

Schadenfreude (/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/; German: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə] ( listen)) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1] This word is taken from the German language. The literal English translation is 'Harm-Joy'. It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune.

Schadenfreude (/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/; German: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə] ( listen)) is twisted pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1] This word is taken from the German language. The literal English translation is ‘Harm-Joy’. It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune.

Enough of that and back onto the multitude of other good twists and turns along with a variety of design styles incorporated into this palace that was allegedly built to house several members of the imperial harem.  Outside of the actual palace grounds you can see the remains of other buildings that might have been built as servant’s quarters or for additional rooms for an ever expanding harem.

The apparent significance of this particular palace is that its design included both Hindu and Islamic art which is usually completely opposite in style and formation.  All I know is that it was another huge endeavor built hundreds of years ago and something that has lasted in impressiveness and grandeur for several centuries and took it seriously took my breath away.

Other blogs that helped to inspire this one.  Check em out.

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  5. Travel Theme: Twist | Geophilia Photography
  6. Decoration… Ailsa’s WTT | Ouch!! My back hurts!!
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  8. Travel Theme: Decoration | Across the Bored
  9. Travel Theme: Twist | Jinan Daily Photo
  10. Pompeii | Tim Wolverson – Photography
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  13. Travel theme: twist. | readsbyredriverbanks
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  15. Plain decorated | Le Drake Noir
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  17. Travel Theme: Decoration | Wind Against Current
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  19. The Monuments of Glencolumbkille, Ireland | Jaspa’s Journal
  20. Travel theme: Decoration | So where’s the snow?
  21. travel theme: decoration | Del’s other stuff…
  22. Travel Theme: Decoration | Ese’ s Voice
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  24. Twist – Ailsa’s WTT | Ouch!! My back hurts!!
  25. Travel Theme: Decoration | My Lens and Universe
  26. Zanzibar: time’s twists and turns | Tish Farrell
  27. Twist in the Sky for a Happy Fourth of July! | Wind Against Current
  28. Travel theme: Twist « Sasieology
  29. What Not To Do With Your Valuables When Traveling | Travel Tales of Life
  30. Travel Theme: Twist – Braided Rivers | Miscellaneous Eclectica