Travelled : 265 klm by coach from Jaipur to Agra
Visited : Chandi Baori Step Well, Ruins of Harshat Mata and Fatehpur Sikri
Stayed : Hotel Clarks Shiraz, Agra.
After a full day in Jaipur yesterday its another day on the road. We rise early and decide on a walk around our little piece of Jaipur just to get the blood flowing. To our surprise we find several gated communities and we walk through noting some lovely home with their staff out early gardening and tiding up.
Be nice to live here, but going out into the dusty world outside maybe not.
Back in an hour, we breakfast and say goodbye to the Hotel Sarovar Portico. The food wasn’t as good as the Radisson in Delhi but the rooms were nice and the fast wifi was handy for Skyping and emailing trying to locate our lost bag.
Anyway an hour later we are out of Jaipur on the motorway heading east, its another dual carriage way but the left lane appears to be dedicated camel drawn wagons and wandering cattle this morning. Another hour passes, some hills appear on the horizon from time to time but its mostly flat country. The driver calls we are turning for something.
Plenty of parking in the Main Street of Bamanpura, just off the 21.
We arrive at the Chandi Baori to have a swarm of locals selling this and that, they are persistent but avoiding eye contact, saying ‘no thank you’ and keep moving seems to work.
The back story of this amazing place…
Constructed between the 8th and 9th Century. Seemingly out in the middle of nowhere Chandi Baori Step Well is one of the most amazing structures we have ever seen.
The surrounding arched colonnade is filled with the most intricate stone carvings that line the inside of the main structure. They were removed and discarded by conquering Muslim invaders some time or other.
Our small group, Michael and Pam who are easy to recognize as they always wear the same clothes, then Jean and Pedro (really Peter) and Frank and Tina. We all become great mates.
Just a quick explanation. The well is almost 20 metres deep and some 40 metres square. It’s fills only during the monsoon seasons. The main structure was part of the royal apartments with water being pumped up for their use.
It’s just 200 metres up the road to Harshat Mata Temple. Again we make our way through the sellers without too much drama. Built during the same period as the step well and damaged by the same Muslim invaders.
The double dome temple stands on a large raised courtyard. Whilst it appears a little like a jig-saw puzzle with a few missing pieces, it has been 1200 years. It’s getting very hot walking around on the red sandstone, so its just a brief look around.
An hour later we stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant and have a surprisingly good rolled roti. Then its another hour on the road to Sikri.
Very handy being able to pop down to the shops and pick up a few bricks with milk and the papers.
The ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory) is only a few kilometres off the 21. It’s another very touristy place, we have a company guide meet us in the carpark, this help us pass the local sellers and provide commentary.
This amazing city palace was constructed over 19 years (according to our guide or 14 years according to Wikipedia) from 1571. Predominately of red sandstone with some white marble construction, the complex is well preserved.
The main entry gate into Palace courtyard at Sikri. No shoes allowed in the complex which is a real hassle. It’s now mid-afternoon and the red sandstone flagging is now bakingly hot, there is a couple of long mats here and there other than that, keep in the shade.
From the shade of the colonnade, the now Hindu Temple in white marble is in the Islamic style. The red sandstone pavilion part of the royal palace. The graves of the then Muslim rulers can be seen on the right foreground.
Looking across the courtyard to the Royal Gate.
Pam in silhouette within an archway along the colonnade, as we stick to the shade.
There are numerous lattice work panels, in marble surrounding the Temple.
Another view of the temple.
The barefoot boys taking in the marble inlaid arches of the royal apartments.
The main entry gate into the royal apartments.
Our tour of Sikri concludes, we are happy to clean our feet and get our shoes back on. We make our way to the bus and back onto the 21 for Agra.
It proves to be very slow trip into Agra. We pass thousands of pilgrims walking along the road from Agra to Jaipur. The 21 has narrow to a single carriage way and our driver seems to negotiate the mass of humanity with ease.
We all breath a sigh of relief as we drive through the gates in the Hotel Clarks Shiraz and find the bar.