Jewels of Northern India Tour 2014
February 19th - March 3rd, 2014
DELHI – AGRA – BHARATPUR - JAIPUR – JODHPUR – UDAIPUR – DELHI
 


 

Feb 22 Delhi to Agra
We leave for Agra this morning after breakfast but a short stop first in Delhi to visit…

Baha’i Temple

I have had the privilege of visiting three Baha’i Temples - the one in Panama that is egg shaped, the one in Haifa, Jerusalem which is the second most important place for the Baha’i faith and this one in Delhi. All three are so different and it was very interesting to find out that this one and the one in Haifa had their gardens both designed by Canadian/Iranian Fariborz Sahba.

The unique lotus shaped Baha’i Temple, a marvel of modern architecture. It is made in the shape of a lotus and is one of the major attractions for national and international tourists. It represents the Bahai's faith which is an independent world religion, divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, broad in its outlook, scientific in its method, humanitarian in its principles and dynamic in the influence it exerts on the hearts and minds of men. All around the lotus are walkways with beautiful curved balustrades, bridges and stairs, which surround the nine pools representing the floating leaves of the lotus. Those who wanted to also visited inside…

Agra is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. While its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map.

Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble by craftsmen supposedly the descendants of those who worked under the Mughals on the Taj. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes. Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and even today it seems to linger in the past. Not surprising, for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world. It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court. Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest that finds mention in the epic Mahabharata. In more recent times Agra came into prominence when Sikandar Lodhi made it his capital city in 1501. The Lodi rule was to end very soon and Agra passed into the possession of the Mughals. It was during the time of the third emperor Akbar that Agra came into its own. He embarked on the construction of the massive Agra Fort in 1565. Akbar was diverted into building a new capital at Fatehpur Sikri not far away. Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jehan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture - the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra fort. So overwhelming is the exquisite beauty and presence of this marble mausoleum that centuries later today, even the very land where it has been located - Agra - has been immortalized as the City of the Taj. Yet, it doesn't take much for the roving eye to discover that there's more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. The city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery… a freeze-frame from a resplendent era that's long since gone by.

Much of the city's impressive past lives in evidence even today, in the haunting presence inside the monuments, the majesty of the buildings, the exquisite arts and crafts and not to forget, the lure of an exceptional cuisine…all, cherished as priceless legacies of a nostalgic past. The older city of Agra has impressively retained much of its resplendent history… captivating every visitor with fond memories to take back home. Today, luxury and modern convenience also exist adjacent to tradition - luxury hotels, shopping malls and plazas, wide avenues and a superb choice of venues for recreation, business, sports, pleasure, education and the arts.

Jaypee Palace was our hotel…The regal Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, a glorious structural blend of red sandstone and marble, is spread over an unbounded 25 acres of elegantly landscaped luxuriant greenery. Sprinkled with enormous water bodies and endless walkways, this magical creation impeccably blends Mughal and contemporary architecture with modern amenities.
 


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