Agra adventure

As a history student, India has always been one of the places I wanted to visit. Thousands of years of history, peace and war, greatness and mediocrity, life and death, all side by side, coursing through the historical veins of the Indian subcontinent. I could probably spend years in India and still not get enough of it.

I was given an opportunity to visit India in 2019. I was then in the middle of the last semester of my master’s degree, trying to balance term papers and thesis research and writing. But to hell with it, of course I went. While I was visiting places in the morning, I was writing term papers in the afternoon until evening.

My first few days in India was spent in Agra. I had already started exploring black-and-white photography, so many of the photos you’ll see here are like that. Since I’m really lazy in learning photography, hundreds of shots were either blurred, overexposed, or what have you. These are the best I could gather (meaning, if these are my best, I really, really suck at photography). But hey, I tried.

Point is, I got there. I experienced it all. I walked those centuries-old paths, touched those walls, breathed that air. Been there. Will come back soon. 😀

The entrance to the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah.
The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, often regarded as the Baby Taj Mahal upon which the Taj Mahal was patterned from.
Itmad-ud-Daulah actually means “pillar of the state” and was the official title of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan (who had the Taj Mahal built).


The walls of the tomb are made of white marble.


From the inside looking out to the quite imposing entrance to the tomb.
Pigeon. 😀
The design of the interior was much more ornate than the Taj Mahal, I believe, using floral designs made of semi-precious stones. Sadly, the stones are no longer there.
I got my first sight of the Taj Mahal the afternoon of my first day and not from the Taj Mahal grounds itself. This photo was taken from the Mehtab Bagh, a Mughal-built viewing garden along the Yamuna River opposite the Taj Mahal.


Located to the north of the Taj Mahal, the Mehtab Bagh is perfectly aligned with the latter monument. The garden, however, is in a sorry state. It gets partially flooded during the rainy season. The local government, however, had started restoration works on some of the garden’s structures when I was there.
Ah, of course. Three guesses where this is?
There is nothing like seeing the Taj Mahal in the early morning. As the rising sun’s rays hit the tomb’s dome, you are treated with a sight few other monuments can match. I wish I could have taken photos of the inside of the Taj Mahal, but photos were not allowed inside (although, really, I was theonly one following the rule. Be a responsible explorer and do FOLLOW RULES, please).
The imposing gate from which you enter the grounds to the Taj Mahal proper.
One of the four minarets surrounding the Taj Mahal.
The mosque to the side of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal overshadows the mosque, figuratively and literally.
That gate!
The entrance to the Agra Fort.
The Agra Fort was the main seat of the Mughal emperors until they moved the capital from Agra to Delhi in 1638.


The fort is about a couple of kilometers away from the the Taj Mahal. From one of the upper floors of the Shish Mahal inside the fort, you can actually see the Taj Mahal.


The Shish Mahal, also known as the Glass Palace, served as the summer residence of the Mughal rulers.


The Nagina Masjid, inside Agra Fort, was built specifically for the use of the female members of the Mughal imperial family.


The Khas Mahal is a palace inside the Red Fort used by Shah Jahan’s imperial daughters as their residence.


The entrance to the tomb of Akbar the Great.
Akbar the Great was one of the Mughal dynasty’s greatest emperors. He gradually expanded the empire to include most of the Indian subcontinent, although Mughal power and influence extended far beyond its borders during his time. He reorganized imperial administration, revitalized the empire’s economy, patronized the arts and letters, and allowed greater religious freedom for his subjects.


Akbar the Great’s tomb is considered a Mughal architectural masterpiece.


The way to Akbar’s actual tomb, a few feet below the ground. No pictures allowed inside, though.


Nope, this isn’t the actual tomb of Akbar the Great, although many mistake it for such.


One last look before leaving. 😦