After breakfast, we met up with local guide
Shef for a tour of Fort Agra. At the outside of the fort, there is a ramp
over a moat. Continuing up, if the enemy could get over the moat even with
drawbridge up, there is an enclosure with Bengal tigers. If the enemy continues,
the soldiers up in the battlements can roll down huge rocks as in Indiana
Jones, pour down hot water or hot oil, and shoot arrows.
Once we got inside, we could see beautiful carvings
depicting both the Muslim and Hindu religions. Some of the marble pillars
were at one time studded with precious stones: rubies, opals, etc. These
have been stolen by people in the past. As a result, many of the monuments
check bags for any sharp objects which may be used to scratch the surfaces
or dig out whatever.
The ceilings in many of the rooms are domes with elaborate
paintings. There is a beautiful sitting room where the Raj and his wife
would sit in the evenings, over-looking the river. This fort probably was
built by the same Raj who built the Taj, and it was built before the Taj.
In one room, two of our group were asked to stand in
opposite corners, facing the corners, and talk to each other. The wall
carried their voices and they could hear each other.
The Raj was illiterate, but he had a massive library.
He had people who read to him. There was also a huge cement tub in the
middle of a courtyard. When the king wanted a bath, he would have some
of his ladies crawl in with him to scrub his back, etc. Our guide was pretty
funny: When the Raj wanted the jacuzzi effect, the women would provide
that... How, you may ask ;-) wink, wink, nudge, nudge ;-)
This Raj was called The Great because he allowed all
kinds of religions during his reign. There was a huge sandstone panel carved
with the symbols of all the religions at that time. He was imprisoned in
this fort by his son. We were not able to see his "cell", which is supposed
to be luxurious. While he was imprisoned, he had one daughter who loved
and looked after him. For her, he built a marble section in which she lived.
Another daughter did not take care of him, she got a sandstone section,
but painted to look like marble.
Another room in this fort has a room with double walls.
Water is run between the walls to cool the room. The water then drains
down a trough into a well that eventually drains into the water moat around
the outside of the fort. It was stocked with crocodiles.
The Taj Mahal was visible from this fort. As his eyesight
failed, his favourite daughter brought him the largest diamond in the world,
the Koh-I-Noor, so it could be used to magnify the Taj Mahal. It is now
in Queen Elizabeth's crown - part of the crown jewels collection.