Abhishek, letter from Agra

lundi 10 décembre 2012

Posté par Thierry | Classé dans : Mots

Abhishek's travelogue during his journey in Agra in December 2012

Dear friends,

I am writing this letter to let you know that the money which all of you collected in school has been chosen a trip to Agra by my dearest auntie Fabienne. So aunt has chosen five big boys : Sanju, Mintu, Raja, Pratap and me Abhishek with our Sudip Uncle. We had not been out of our state West Bengal before. We were given opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal and other historical places in Agra.
On 3rd December, the train scheduled time was 11 o'clock in the night but due to mechanical and technical problem, the train arrived at 3.30 in the morning at Sealdah Station. So for that moment of time, we waited in the waiting room. We boarded Sealdah-Ajmer Express on 4th December 3.30 in the morning and got our reserved seats. My fellow friends and me were tired and very sleepy so we got off to bed very fast. We were awaken by group of girls gossiping at 8.30 in the morning. I refreshed myself and had breakfast. Then I sat beside the window gazing at the beautiful scenery of Jharhand, the Chota Nagpur plateau while Sudip uncle read books. We had lunch and soon we reached the state of Bihar. The train stopped at Gaya, Sasaram famous places in Bihar and by evening we reached the state of Uttar Pradesh and passed through Allahabad, Kanpur and reached our destination Agra on 5th December at 5.30 in the morning. The morning was chilly at Agra Fort station so by putting my sweater was not helping. So, I covered myself with a blanket because I had no choice. While my fellow friends were content with sweater and scarf we waited at the station waiting room as we could not go to the hotel, it was early in the morning though we booked our room from before. We brushed and refreshed ourselves and the train to Fatehpur Sikri left Agra Fort station at 8 o'clock and by that time Sudip uncle and me went near the Agra Fort. At 7.30 we left for Fatehpur Sikri. The journey to Fatehpur Sikri is exactly 1 hour. I know friends you will be surprised but let me tell you about Fatehpur Sikri.

Akbar the 3rd Mughal emperor of the Mughal dynasty built the city Fatehpur Sikri. There are two reasons behind the building of the city :

  1. Babur, the 1st Mughal emperor and the grand-father of Akbar won the battle of Khanoa and consolidated his power over India near Fatehpur Sikri which is now covered by pastured land.
  2. Second Sheikh Saleem Cristi, a sufi saint, preached there and also for his blessings which Akbar had two sons after Saleem Cristi (now Saleem is known as Jahangir) and the other son died in Akbar's life time. There is also another interesting story about the name Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur means Victory which his grand-father won and Sikri means kingdom. Fatehpur Sikri has many interesting things to see like Bulawand Darwaza (Bulan means giant and Darwaza means doon) which in length wise is the highest in Asia and breath wise the biggest in the world. Ibadat Khana (prayer hall) which he built for all his subjects especially for his three beloved queens from three religions of hindu, muslim and Christian and the structure shows design of church, mosque and temple which shows for Akbar that all religions are equal. He propagated a new religion Din-i-Illahi. Sheikh Saleem Dargha (graveyard) where I took flowers and threw upon his body and then tied the taga in the mausoleum and asked my mannat (wish) to Baba Saleem (father Saleem).

We visited the Diwan-I-Aam (means house of the common people) where he should hear the problem of the people in his kingdom. Diwan-i-Khas (means house of the ministers) where he conducted his policies everyday. Jodha Bai Palace, Birbal palace, Elephant Tower (Akbar's favourite elephant Hiran) where he died was buried and top of his buried body was made a tower which had the system to convict the guilty person and stab them to death like now an elephant stab the man and kill him. Friends don't worry I will send pictures of Fatehpur Sikri.

I found Fatehpur Sikri as those times they calculated the time of the inclination of the sun in the sky. Water supply system and natural AC for his three beloved wives. We had lunch and by evening we were back to the hotel. We had dinner and went to sleep because me and my fellow friends were really tired and all of us had a good sleep.

The following day, 6th December, we had to leave hotel before 10 o'clock. We had bath, breakfast and got ready to leave. When I saw the Taj Mahal from the roof of the hotel, I could not believe that Taj Mahal among the seven wonders of the world is just a distance away from me. So we headed to Taj Mahal. We bought tickets (Rs 20 for Indians and Rs 220 for foreigners). We ented the Taj Mahal from West Gate. Actually there are three gates to enter the Taj Mahal : East, West and South gates. North Gate is not there because the river Yamuna is flowing back of the Taj Mahal. When we entered the Taj Mahal, I could not imagine whether it is a dream or reality. I stood near the Taj Mahal. I can not describe its beauty and splendor. The picture of Taj Mahal I used to see in the history books and now I see it for real in my life. It is made of white marble. We saw Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal's tomb inside the Taj Mahal. Then we saw inlay work, the beautiful carving. It took nearly 20 years to build it and 20000 men did this work. Shah Jahan afterwards ordered their hands to be cut so that in future nobody would make the second Taj Mahal. He made this for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
We spent nearly 3 hours in Taj Mahal and then had lunch and took our luggage and saw Agra Fort where five Mughal emperors, Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurengzeb lived there. It stretches 2.5 kilometers and 75 % is kept for Indian Army and the rest 25 % is viewed for public. We saw Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam. Corridors are workmanship of structure tunnels to the Taj Mahal. We saw the tunnel but were not allowed to go in. And soon we came back to the station and we caught the Ajmer Express to Sealdah at 7 o'clock and we were back at 7 o'clock in the evening. There were nearly thousand of foreigners in Agra to see the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.

I would advice friends if you come to India to see the Taj Mahal, be careful. There are many frauds, people who cheat the innocent foreigners. Do not believe anyone. If you want to know more, either buy a book which at least save your money from frauds or take a government guide who only charges Rs200 or Rs 300 fixed rate. Don't take any photographers who are willing to take photos of yours and then charging you thousand or more. I would advice you to bring your camera. There are frauds only because you are foreigners to our country. Indians always seem to be nice with foreigners but innocent foreigners are trapped in their nets which cost them a lot of money. I am telling you this because I have seen this in all the historical monuments in Agra.
Thank you very much for the money. I wish you Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all.

Hope I get some response from you all.

Bye bye from Abhishek.

Mots clés : Abhishek, Taj Mahal, voyage, culture
Thierry, le mécano du site
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