Monday, 5 March 2012

Danielle Corner: Agra Fort

During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this third of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about Agra Fort.

Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...

Agra Fort

I regard this as a really nice ex-palace/ex-military Fort, albeit it is still utilised for the latter purpose on a restricted basis even today. Of course I understand that the scattered presence of army personnel was not for tourist show, unlike the Beefeaters in London, nonetheless they did give an added authentic feel to the place as did the families of Monkeys that have made the place their home for generations. I felt a bit sorry for the Fort, and to prematurely indicate my views on its sister building in Agra, the Taj Mahal, nothing can compete with it. Perhaps, if the Fort was moved brick by brick to another city or physically dropped somewhere else, it might be more aesthetically pleasing to the travelling eye. However, the fact the Taj Mahal builder [Emperor Shah Jahan who ordered its construction] was imprisoned in the Agra Fort - which on a sunny day, very closely overlooks the Taj Mahal - and forced to admire the building that he created from afar, reinforces the romanticism of the place. Okay, I'm one of those people that will just have to say in advance that I love the Taj Mahal and know that I'm neglecting to mention what I'm supposed to be writing about because I can't help it, the Taj is just so beautiful.

In brief, I really liked the Agra Fort and it wasn't as crowded as other places, so I would say it was a chilled out experience in Agra - words that you would not normally associate with the city. It is a Must See visit in Agra. You'd be forgiven, however, for missing the Sound and Lights show here - especially, for English speakers such as myself, the Hindi showing.

And again, could have been doing with a coffee shop. My only real criticism.

Had you heard of Agra Fort before travelling (and before hearing about it from me)?


What were your expectations?

Not very high. I thought it would just be another military castle/building, and we have millions in Scotland. I didn't think it would be anything special.

What was your first impression?

It was much better than I expected. The scale of it was actually quite big compared to how it looked from the front entrance. The fact that its so unknown considering the history and relationship to the Taj Mahal.

What did you like most about Agra Fort?

The history and connection with the Taj Mahal. And the fact that the building is still so well maintained.

What didn't you like about Agra Fort?

The sound and light show. [That's a bit unfair given we saw the Hindi showing...] The fact that it had no coffee shop.

Would you regard Agra Fort as a World Wonder?

No, but it's a beautiful building with a lot of history. However, I just think each country has its own equivalent.

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