Monday, July 2nd, 2012. Delhi, India.
Distance driven: 2,925 KM / 1828 miles.
Today is leg three of the Golden Triangle as we leave Agra and head to Delhi, our final destination before we head home on Friday, which will be the day that never ends.
In the meantime, we had one stop on the way, just outside Agra at Sikandra, where the tomb of Akbar the Great is located.
Akbar began the building of his own tomb, but died in 1605 during its construction. His son Jahangir completed it, but dismantled much of the work Akbar had done. The result was an impressive memorial to his father.
The main entry gate, Buland Darwaza, is modeled after the victory gate at Fatehpur Sikri. Much of the construction at the tomb makes use of red sandstone, but there is some white marble and there are also minarets, elements that are found at the Taj Mahal.
In all the Mughal burial memorials, there are false tombs that are typically the ones we see. For instance, at the Taj Mahal, the “tombs” of Shah Jahan and his wife are actually empty. The real tombs are located underground in a vault, which is not accessible. At Sikanra, for “security reasons” one is not allowed up to the upper stories, the topmost of which contains the public tomb. But, entrance to the actual subterranean tomb is allowed here.
As can be seen, the vault and tomb are very simple, with a Cairene lamp hanging over the simple white marble tomb, which contrasts with the grand decorations to be found upstairs.
From here, we drove to Delhi, about the same distance as Jaipur to Agra, but much longer due to traffic. Once we got to our hotel we had a rest – the outside temperature was about 112 degrees.
Later we tried to visit the state emporia near Connaught Circle, however all but one of them were closed and the one that was open was not that impressive. We had taken the Delhi Metro to get there. When we came out of the station, some “helpful person” said the emporia we were looking for were closed (which turned out to be mostly true), but that some other state emporia were open. We realized fairly quickly that we were being led astray to some other shopping area and followed our instincts and headed back.
Eventually we found the state emporia and learned that these ones are the only legitimate state Emporia. Because they are government run, they close relatively early, so we’ll come back another time.
Using my smart phone, I found a nearby restaurant that was highly rated. Since we had had a fairly large lunch and the place turned out to be pricey, we just has a few appetizers to share, but they were fantastic. The place is called Chutney and it is located in the Metropolitan Hotel. I later found out that is was rated the #1 restaurant in Delhi in Trip Advisor.