Jan 4 2011 Agra Fort

January 5, 2011
posted by admin

entrance gate

After a nice breakfast buffet of American, Asian and Indian breakfast foods at our hotel in Agra, we boarded our tour bus with our knowledgeable tour guide and historian and headed to Agra Fort about 1.2 miles from the Taj Mahal on the banks of the Yamuna River.    During the 1600’s,  Agra was the capital of India. This red, sandstone fort doubled as a palace and residence for three generations of the Mughal Dynasty who had their residence and courts within this impressive structure.  Akbar the Great, designed and built the Fort to house the government offices along with his 300 wives.  The massive 120 foot battlements are still in place today.  There are two exterior walls which provided redundant layers of protection: one wall sectioned off the jungle area which contained ferocious tigers, and the outermost wall sectioned off the moat stocked with huge crocodiles. 

Akbar’s son was Jahangir, who was a great scholar of Hindi, Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi (Persian).  In his later days, he was addicted to wine and woman.   His son, Shah Jahan, was fond of building palaces and huge monuments – the Taj Mahal being his most well-known structure.  He is credited with demolishing several sections of the Fort and replacing them with sumptuous marble pavilions.  He also began construction of a new Mughal capital in Delhi, but was never able to see his plans through to reality.  His reign ended in disgrace and conflict when his son, Aurangzeb destroyed many of the temples he had built, tried to impose Islam on the people of India and imprisoned his father inside of Agra Fort while taking up his reign in Delhi.

The contrast between the rough, red sandstone and the smooth white marble architectural elements is striking.  The photos speak for themselves.

After Agra Fort, we were taken by our guide to the handmade rug artisans.  This is a huge cottage industry in Agra as different artisans design, dye, weave, tie knots, and shave rugs in their homes.  These skills are also passed down from generation to generation in families.  We watched weavers on their looms, singing back and forth to each other songs that communicated the color and placement of the tread for a complex floral and geometric designs.   All the looms, scissors, and other implements are also handmade.   We got a thorough education on rugs and how to tell the quality of a rug by looking at the back and counting the knots. 

After this, we boarded our van and traveled the six hours back to Delhi.  We were all tired as we arrived at our hotel about 11 p.m.  We will leave for the airport tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. to fly to Nagpur.

These two days in Agra have been extremely beneficial to the team in providing a good base of understanding of Indian and Hindu history and culture.  I want to personally thank our team leader Dr. Lewis for organizing the trip so that we could have this experience. It shows respect for the people of India to learn about the things that are important to them.  We will build on this knowledge as we strive to serve and love them through the coming week of medical outreach.

Please pray  that God will  help us love the people of India in a way that is  pure and glorifies Him.

Psalm 46:10-11

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Amen

One Response to “Jan 4 2011 Agra Fort”

  1. Russell & Joanna Owens Says:

    Christy: So impressive. Fort sounds like overkill. Tigers, Alligators and 300 wives. You deffinitelky are absorbing a lot of History of India in a short period of time. Be carewful your little ole head doesn’t burst!!!

    Nothing exciting back here. Haven’t had confirmation of the meeting you were trying to set up with VDOT. Mark sent me an e-mail saying he was coming to our IDA January meeting in Christy’s place. Thats imposssible–no one can take your place.

    Most of the snow has melted here, but still very cold brrrr.

    We went to a funeral today of a lady who was a member of the Joanna Maiden Owens Sunday School class.

    Oh yes, your pictures are great and we appreciate having access to your Blog. Getting a first hand report of your almost daily activities is appreciated.

    Take care and remember you and the team have our love and prayers.

    Russell & Joanna