Saturday, June 30, 2012. Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Distance driven: 2,705 KM / 1690 miles.
The day did not start well. Kelly was running a fever and having tummy troubles. I asked if she wanted us to stay in Jaipur another day, but she said “no”. Most of today was planned for getting to Agra, doing a few things on the way and a couple of things once we arrived.
So we high tailed it to get to Agra about as fast as we could which would let Kelly get the most rest.
On the way we made a quick stop at Chand Baori, a famous stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur. We just stopped for a few minutes, but it was a really neat place – the well is very deep with a stack of regularly spaced steps that create a diamond like pattern.
The step well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple, constructed in 800 c. and is one of the deepest and largest step wells in India. It was built in the 9th century and has 3500 narrow steps in 13 stories and is 100 feet deep.
Once we got to Agra, I got Kelly into bed and resting. She fell asleep quickly and after making sure she was okay, the boys and I headed out for a little bit.
Our main destination was the tomb of Itimad ud Daulah, sometimes called the baby Taj, which is located on the opposite bank from the Taj Mahal, about 4 KM away.
The mausoleum was commissioned by Nūr Jahān, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, who had been given the title of I’timād-ud-Daulah (pillar of the state), and served as Jahangir’s vizier. Mirzā Ghiyās Beg was also the grandfather of Mumtāz Mahāl (originally named Arjūmand Bāno, daughter of Asaf Khān), the wife of the emperor Shāh Jahān, responsible for the building of the Tāj Mahal.
The tomb is seen as an inspiration for the Taj Mahal because of its design, materials, and workmanship, although it is much smaller in scale. When we first approached it, it looked almost like it was made out of ivory.
The other stop we made was to get our first real view of the Taj from the opposite side of the Yamuna river, but I’ll save those photos for tomorrow.
When we got back to the hotel, Kelly was still sleeping and she slept through the night. Thankfully she was feeling much better in the morning.