Agra Fort

Agra Fort is a historical fort in Agra, India.

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Construction begun in 1565 under Emperor Akbar and was completed in 1573. It was the central residence for four generations of Mughal emperors until 1638 when the capital moved from Agra to Delhi.

It covers an area of 94 hectares. The fort’s double red walls are more than 20 metres in height and 2.5 kilometres in circumference.

Agra Fort is approximately 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) from the Taj Mahal, so most tourists visit both sites in the same day. It is open from sunrise to sunset.

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Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra.

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The famous ivory-white marble mausoleum was commissioned by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1632 as the tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child.

Construction was completed on the mausoleum in 1643. But the construction and landscaping continued on the surrounding buildings and gardens for another 10 years.

The central dome reaches a height of 73 metres (240 feet) and is surrounded by four domes and four minarets at the mausoleum’s corners.

Vehicle traffic is banned 500 metres from the Taj Mahal to minimise pollution and protect the building from deterioration.

The grounds are open from 6am to 7pm everyday, except for Friday when the complex is closed for prayers.

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Wagah border ceremony

The lowering of the flags at Wagah border is a daily military practice between India and Pakistan.

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The ceremony takes place at sunset at the Wagah border (its Indian name is Attari), a border town between India and Pakistan. Wagah is 27km from Amritsar on the Indian side and 29km from Lahore on the Pakistani side.

Both sides have visitor galleries. I viewed the ceremony from the Indian side.

The ceremony is very theatrical with the marching involving the soldiers raising their legs as high as possible.

The soldiers march towards the gate at the border, which is opened. The soldiers will then salute each other and the both countries will start lowering their flags at the same time. The flags are then folded and the gates slams shut.

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The Golden Temple – Evening Visit

The Golden Temple is a Sikh place of worship in Amritsar, India.

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This post is about my evening visit to the Golden Temple. Click here to read about my visit during the day.

In the evening the closing ceremony to observe is the sukhasan. Sukh means comfort or rest, and asan means position.

At night the Guru Granth Sahib scripture book is placed on pillow bed decorated with flowers and carried into the Akal Takht amongst chanting to symbolically be put to bed.

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The Golden Temple – Day Visit

The Golden Temple is a Sikh place of worship in Amritsar, India.

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The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, which means ‘abode of god’ is the holiest Gurdwara and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism.

Gurdwara, which is a place of worship, means ‘door to the guru’. Sikhs welcome people from all faiths, including those who do not have a faith to their gurdwaras.

There are four entrances to the shrine from four directions signifying this point that all are are equally welcome.

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Construction on the temple begun in 1581. The temple has had to be rebuilt several times after being destroyed by Muslim armies from Afghanistan and the Mughal Empire.

The name Golden Temple came after the temple’s marble exterior was overlaid with gold foil in 1830.

The temple is surrounded by a manmade pool named Amrit Sarova, which translates as ‘pool of holy nectar’. There are many exotic fish in the pool. Devotees who visit the temple may bathe in the holy waters.

My small group visited the Langar, which is a community kitchen that serves free vegetarian food to everyone regardless of faith, gender or economic background. Everyone sits on the floor in rows and food is served by volunteers.

After lunch we visited the food preparation and cooking areas and participated in making the dough for roti.

Later in the afternoon we sat and watched a trio of Sikh musicians perform hymns with traditional instruments.

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Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

Jallianwala Bagh Memorial is a public garden in Amritsar that is memorial to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

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The memorial was established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre.

On Sunday 13 April 1919 the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire on thousands that had gathered peacefully in the Bagh to celebrate Baisakhi, an annual Sikh festival.

Visitors will enter the garden through a narrow lane, which would have been the only way to escape but was blocked by Dyer’s men.

The bullet ridden walls have been preserved as a reminder of the tragedy. There is also the Martyr’s Well, which many people jumped into to avoid the bullets. Around 120 bodies were recovered from the well.

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The spot from where General Dyer’s troops opened fire

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Bullet marks

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Martyrs’ Well

As well as the preserved bullet marked walls and the well there are several monuments within and outside the garden.

The centrepiece of the garden is the Flame of Liberty, a 30ft four-sided red stone pillar in the shape of a flame. The Flame of Liberty was inaugurated on 13 April 1961 by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India.

Amar Jyoti, which translates as ‘timeless light’, is an eternal flame, that burns 24 hours a day.

Outside the entrance to Jallianwala Bagh is an elegant white marble statue that is also in the shape of a flame.

The 6.5 acre garden is located within the Golden Temple complex, and is a short walk from the Golden Temple.

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Flame of Liberty

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Amar Jyoti

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Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor of India, in Delhi, India.

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Humayun’s first wife, Empress Bega Begum commissioned the tomb. It was designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad.

It was the first garden tomb in Asia. Construction begun in 1566, nine years after Humayun’s death. It was completed in 1572.

There are around 150 graves in Humayun’s tomb and the surrounding gardens.

Humayun’s tomb is located at Mathura Road, opposite Dargah Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi.

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