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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Brutality In The Pink City

[S02E13] Captured in this podcast some proof that police brutality still exists in India. Thank god the officer wasn’t carrying any of the weapons we saw in the City Palace.

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Unique Udaipur

This is our final entry of our Rajathan trip, written by Octopussy…I mean Liz. Why Octopussy? Because we’re in Romantic Udaipur, where the rather kitch 1983 Bond movie was filmed. However, as Liz writes: “shunning the ‘antiques’, carpets, and tailoring being thrust at us we ended up by the water, watching the sun go down over Udaipur from the best viewpoint in town, in the company of professional photographers and the homeless.”

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Fatehpur Sikri: City of Victory

Cliché or no cliché, Akbar’s ‘City of Victory’ really does “rise majestically” from a barren rocky plateau. Referring back to my note book, before writing up this visit, I found a string of exclamations: “The scale! Location and position! Extraordinary! Fabulously well-maintained! Power! More palace than fort!” An extraordinary place…

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Jantar Mantar and the Pink City Beggars

We’d only been in Jaipur a day and a night and already we’d witnessed some police brutality, so we thought we’d balance it with a bit of civilised culture. Cue one UNESCO World Heritage site and a huge palace-cum-fort. After visiting these incredible places, however, we thought we’d get back to reality with some interaction with beggars, street-dwellers and kids rummaging through piles of rubbish. Just to remind ourselves of this diverse city we’re in before leaving for the Taj.

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