Despite being completely exhausted, we travelled the 55 kilometers to Fatehpur Sikri early, very early in the morning. Naturally we wanted this huge complex of palaces and majestic buildings to our own. Besides, with these temperatures you cannot afford a late start and who wants to miss the pleasant soft light for taking pictures? Once outside of Agra, traffic vanished and we covered the distance in less than one hour. The 20 € for a car plus driver were well invested!
We were the only visitors in this enormous compound and thus the only victims for experienced guides. Too weak to argue, we paid the absurd price of 400 Ruppies, more than the guide at the Taj Mahal charged, for his – as it turned out – inferior service.
Only when we got to Jama Masjid, the Friday Mosque, did we come across other people, mostly Indian worshippers. Vendors merciless pushed all kinds of religious offerings on us, eagerly supported by our guide. We dutifully settled for the rose petals, which Heidi placed on the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti. This, of course, was only possible after putting a small plastic bowl-like cap on her head! Before leaving, she tied a ribbon around on the grid-like windows and uttered a wish, just as she was told.
Fatehpur Sikri, with its 40 different buildings, definitely left a lasting impression on us. All built by Emperor Akbar, we found his personal airy, multi-story palace particularly striking. He also treated each of his wives to their own palace. Whenever guides talk about the wives of Moghul rulers, they point out that the emperor married women of different religions: Muslims, Christians, Hindi, etc. Whether this is true or a bit of political correctness added in modern days, we do not know, but the story has a nice touch.