The long and winding road: finding Tibet in Darjeeling

One or two inhabitants stood inside the gate observing our sweating, panting faces with dead-pan expressions. A wide and well-tended path stretched upwards to the main group of buildings. We had walked into another country: there were no plastic bottles, crisp wrappers, bright blue tangles of frayed nylon rope, plastic bags, sweet wrappers, turds or stinking puddles anywhere. Just nice green grassy borders either side of the well-trodden path, and a hand-built wooden stairway.

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Taj Mahal & Her Baby Sister

[S02E17] The Taj was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and the whole complex was completed in 1653. It is a mausoleum using Persian, Turkish and Indian styles of architecture. The building needs no introduction, it’s one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. If you decide to go there, do what we did and get up really early!

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Snobs In Fatehpur Sikri

[S02E16] Fatehpur Sikri consists of two areas: The huge Jama Masjid, the second largest mosque in India, and the Palace of Akbar. For a short while Akbar made Fatehpur Sikri the capital of his empire. He spent 15 years building the mosque, the palace, harems, courts, water features and other buildings and drew his influences from Persia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not to be missed, but if you can’t make it, then listen to this week’s podcast to get a great idea of what the fuss is all about.

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Agra Fort

[S02E15] In this podcast we take our first train trip. We learn of a king who locked his own father up until his death, the same man who built the Taj Mahal. We’re in Agra, home to the world’s most famous building.

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Jantar Mantar

[S02E14] If ever the sculptor Anish Kapoor received inspiration it must surely be from this ancient astronomy site, now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. We admire the contours and angles of these intriguing objects before wandering round the impressive Amber Fort.

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A Special Birthday Video Clip

I know some of you simply don’t have the time or the energy to read all our stories, so as a special birthday treat I’ve pulled out all the stops and created an exclusive animated version of Liz’s tale, ‘Murder on the Kolkata Express’. Some of you may have read this brilliant short story already but wait till you get a load of this, this is quite unique. It’s a lot of fun too.

Happy birthday, Liz!

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