I must be a nightmare to travel with at times! When I want to see something – especially something I have come back for, and I am told that we would not be seeing it, I do not stay silent.
That was the case when we were told we would not be visiting Fatehpur Sikri. I was not about to have that and said so. To their credit Total Holiday Options organised a private tour for me. Fatehpur Sikri, about 45 minutes drive from Agra, is a world Heritage UNESCO site dating to the 16th century and absolutely worth the visit. It is, however, a place to do one on one or one on two with a guide not in a larger group as the hawkers are insistent and persistent in the mosque grounds.
The mosque is both a place of worship and of pilgrimage. There is a shrine to the holy man of Sikri whose pleas for a son from the Shah at the time were answered. All in plain white marble and beautifully carved it is where people go to make a wish and to return to if that wish is fulfilled. A string is added to the web at the time of the request and a string cut when fulfilled. It does not have to be the same string if you can’t remember which one you hung.
The Palace is much more peaceful and there is so much to see. The Queen’s quarters where she spent her entire pregnancy, the 5 tiered pagoda influenced by the Chinese, a pavillion overlooking a deep water moated musicians gallery where the royal family would be entertained and the stunningly carved Treasury and Audience chambers are all beautifully preserved.
The Shah was so grateful to the holy man that he asked what he wanted. The holy man replied that he did not need anything because God had provided all he needed, but the village could use a permanent water supply. The Shah duly provided a huge reservoir for the town and this continues to supply water to the town, fed only by the winter rains.
I am very pleased I insisted on seeing this fascinating site. When you travel make sure that you see what you went for .