India – Delhi and Agra

Delhi and Agra, India, 6 days, November 2019

+ The place for Delhi and Agra


+ My feelings and historical part

Delhi ou New Delhi,difficult to navigate. Delhi is a city in northern India and is home to New Delhi, the country’s capital. If I understand correctly, two cities in one. So am I in Delhi or New Delhi…
A very cosmopolitan city. My hotel is at Connaugh Circle, the central point of the tube. A huge place since its outer part must be within 5km (3.1mi). I was able to walk around Delhi (Old and New) more easily. I also took the metro card, valid for 3 days, inexpensive and above all very practical. The metro remains the most convenient and secure means of transport. A search is carried out at each entry and X-ray on the luggage.
There is a lot to see but the distances are great. It is difficult to do multiple monuments in the same day, unless you are a walker like me. I wish I could have gone to some places like “Old Iron Bridge”. On foot, it remains impractical. But I advise you to take a walk like this, but I recognize that you have to know how to close your heart to all the poverty reigning in this immense city. Many gardens, streets, serve as bedrooms and playgrounds for children. It hurts my heart, but I’m just a drop of water. I spoke with an Indian who asked me why there were so many poor people. Difficult to argue for a European who does not have the same vision and the same spirit as an Indian. This poverty remains paradoxical compared to the immense progress of this rising nation. She almost managed to become the 4th state to land a probe on the moon this summer. On the one hand, this power (military, space) and on the other this immense poverty.
Agra, city famous for the Taj Mahal. This mausoleum is truly grandiose. These white marble facades do not leave you indifferent. this whiteness hurts the eyes. From by and others, the mosque and the palace of the guests. Their color, red, brings out the whiteness of the mausoleum even more. Even though the place is grand, I did not find the magic I expected, as was the case with the Petra site. This does not detract from the splendor of the monument. The second monument, the Agra Fort, is really huge. When you see the surrounding walls from the outside, you really can’t imagine what is behind these red stones. Different palaces, covered in the past with carpets, as a door. These monuments, with Mughal and Hindu architecture are also striking for their ingenuity to ensure freshness inside. Thus, inside some walls, circulated water to refresh, or ventilation systems to circulate the air.
Historical part
Delhi is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River, and has long been an important city, placed on the trade routes from the northwest to the plains of the Ganges. It has been the historic capital of several Indian empires. There are many legends about the origin of the name “Delhi”. According to one of them, it would be derived from “Dhillu” or “Dilu”, a king who built the city in 50 BC. AD and gave it its name. According to another legend, the name of the city is based on the Hindi / prakrit word dhili, “cowardly”, and was used by the Tomara clan in reference to Delhi’s iron pillar whose foundations were weak and had to be moved. The coins in circulation in the region under the Tomara were called “dehliwal”. Finally, according to the Bhavishya Purana, King Prithiviraja of Indraprastha built a new fort for all the castes of his kingdom and gave it the name of “dehali”.
The remains of eight major cities have been discovered in Delhi, the first five being in what is now South Delhi. It was Turkish (“Quwwat-al-Islam” mosque) and Afghan with the Slave dynasty, then Mongolian for more than 3 centuries. It then belongs to the Hindu Marathi Empire (1720). The British East India Company settled there in 1803 and the city then came under British control until 1947, when India became independent.
The Taj Mahal, which means, in Persian, “the palace of the crown”, is a white marble mausoleum built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shâh Jahân in memory of his wife Arjumand Bânu Begam, also known as name of Mumtaz Mahal, which in Persian means “the light of the palace”. She died in 1631 giving birth to their fourteenth child while accompanying her husband during a military campaign. The Taj Mahal is considered a gem of Mughal architecture, a style that combines architectural elements from Islamic, Iranian, Ottoman and Indian architectures. It is erected at the end of a rectangular ornamental garden enclosed by an enclosure pierced on each side of four doors, three of which are false. The garden is traversed by four cross-shaped canals equipped with water jets and fountains. The monument is built using materials from various parts of India and other parts of Asia. More than 1,000 elephants are said to have been used to transport construction materials during the construction. Its construction begins in 1632 and would have ended at the end of 1643 or at the beginning of 1644. But at the main entrance an inscription indicates that the construction was completed in 1648. Agra Fort is a fort covering an area of ​​38ha (0.15mi2), it is the largest fort in India. The surrounding walls, in red sandstone, are 21m (68ft) high and 2.5km (1.55mi) long. Known since 1080, the fort, in ruins, was rebuilt 1558 by Jalâluddin Muhammad Akbar to make a residential palace for his son. Its reconstruction lasted 8 years. The monument, originally in brick, was rebuilt with red sandstone from Rajasthan. From that moment on, the fort was no longer just a military place but also a place of residence. The architecture is Hindu style, the Mughal style will assert itself later under Shâh Jahân.


+ Anecdote and Advice

Anecdote: During various conflicts (Germany, Japan, Pakistan), scaffolding was erected at the Taj Mahal to mislead the pilots. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, preventive measures were considered to cover the monument with a khaki canvas in order to avoid the reverberation of the sun which made it visible at 40km (25mi) around which could make it a potential target.
Advice: To visit Agra, nothing beats the high speed train. I made the trip by car and it is very long, especially since there is nothing to see on the trip, just the discovery of the motorway areas … You leave in the morning early and you will return with the last train.