We woke up and ready to explore Agra, a city in Uttar Pradesh, also know as the 19th most populous city in India. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agra First in list to visit was the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Agra Fort, sometimes called the Red Fort.
Our fun started when we decided to take tuk-tuk to Agra Fort. At first, we planned to call for two tuk-tuk since we wanted to have more space for stroller and Aqilah. But looking at locals who were two times over us, able to squeeze in one tuk-tuk, why not. If 8 person can fit in, 4 sure can lah!
We stopped one tuk-tuk and asked him,
“Agra Fort?” I shook my head like Indian, asking for confirmation.
*Say nothing.* The tuk-tuk driver shook his head back, and asked us to sit in his tuk-tuk. WOW! What a simple communication. We surely can survive here! Hehehe!
Tips : Do not act like first-time-come-to-India-bimbo. Be confident, know where you want to go, and digest quickly the currency conversion.
“How much?” I asked him.
“Rp60…” which was RM4.20, BUT we still negotiated with him.
We finally managed to reduce down by Rp10=RM0.70 (yes, we care), so we only paid Rp50=RM3.50 for 7minutes ride. How did we arrange ourselves in that small tuk-tuk?
I went in first, sat behind the driver, super close to the right side of the tuk-tuk (you can’t go out from this end). Just imagine, only 10% of my butt was on the seat and I just had few inch away from dropping out the 3-wheel auto! Then Chawana who carried Aqilah onto her chest (in carrier), sat in the middle, while her hubby sat next to her, without any door on his left!
So, where was my hubby, Aqilah’s stroller, camera bags and such??? Hahaha! Hubby got his special seat, sharing the same seat with the tuk-tuk driver! While stroller, Na had it in between of her thighs. And each of us carried our own camera bag.
So…I let you guys do the IMAGINATION.
It wasn’t that bad when the tuk-tuk wasn’t moving. But when it started to move, I tell you, we can FEEL the bumpiness along the road! Free massage, guys! Hahaha! So adventurousssssss! And butt aching!
Tips : Try tuk-tuk. It is fast, fun, and cheap. Plus, the POIs are tuk-tuk friendly and located around town.
We laughed all the way down, and suddenly we were astonished with something that was super tall, enormous, and extensive red wall, that we called a fortress. WE ALMOST HAD OUR JAW DROPPED!
We paid the tuk-tuk, jumped off, and quickly crossed over the road. There were camels cart along the street, street vendors selling drinks and ‘sireh’ before the fort, and locals and tourist lingering around.
AND THE OUTER WALL LOOKED FAKE! Like painting! Where it is real! A 400years heritage right in front of my eyes! And how did they build it?
Ask the great Mughal Emperor Akhbar.
I was amazed with the red sandstone tablet at the gate. It was a typical fortress with stream around it. We crossed over the elephant-sized bridge and when I looked up,
“Huh? How did that dog get up there?” I don’t think visitors are allowed to go up there.
We bought 4 tickets, Rp300=RM21 each, and guess how much locals need to pay if they want to enter? Rp50=RM3.50! Freaking cheap huh! *Wait till I become one local minachi tomorrow!*
Right after we purchased our tickets, two to three local middle age guys came to approach us, persuading us to hire them as our guide. Being such an ignorant, I started to snap photos here and there. But being Chawana, who are kind-hearted and willing to listen to those guides, they were followed until the main gate. One of the man told Chawana that it is a waste of time if we walk on our own, as the place is massive.
Sure or notttttttt…missing valuable info, maybe, but got lost in POI that we personally planned? Nahhhh!
Passing the check point was a relief for us. We started to take pictures of the fort, with flying pigeons on top. Hubby didn’t let go the chance posing with the sign of Agra Fort. While I, posing almost at every inch of the wall! Haha!
Inside, we had to walk in one high-wall-walkaway, heading towards the open area. The first building that we saw was Jehangiri Mahal. First impression? Beau-ti-ful! Just look at the green grass! Adding into the scene, colorful local ‘sarees’ and bright shiny day have made the pictures turned out to be super amazing and overwhelming.Tips : Don’t worry of history. The Indian government has tackled visitors with MINIMAL info boards around the fortress where you can google it later. There are 18 sites and structures that you can visit in this fort. Anyhow, without proper signage and directions, you will end up looking at beautiful buildings with no names.
We then visit Jahaghir’s Hauz, Shahjahani Mahal, Ghaznin Gate, Khas Mahal & Anguri Bagh, Subteranean Apartments & Phansigar, Muthamman or Musamman Burj (where Shah Jahan spent the last seven years of his life under house arrest by his son due to his craziness to build The Black Taj) & Jharoka, Shish Mahal, Diwan-I-Am, and the list went on and on!
The white marbles, decorated columns, the Taj Mahal view from afar, everything was planned accordingly in that era. Amazing!
“Syabbas Inspector Sahab, syabbaaaasss!” Hahaha! We continued posing.
One animal that I noticed to play around this place was tiny little squirrels that seemed to be used to visitors presence. They were not scared with people and they were all looked the same! Regardless gender, color and size!Tips : You can feed them and the place keeper will offer you some squirrel food, but beware, he might ask for tips then.
And not only squirrels who got attention here, Aqilah too! Chawana had to stop few times when locals started to adore Aqilah LIKE CRAZY!
We spent almost 2 hours at this fort and decided to visit another place. Approaching the Amar Singh Gate, we saw hundreds of people in white, walking with big green flags in hand.
“RIOT???” We stunned!
“Wait…wait till they go then we go out…”
For history element, read Travelista's version here (in English)
For trip experience, read Chawana's version here (in Bahasa)