Agra fort-a glimpse of Mughal lifestyle

For 200 years, a single dynasty ruled the land of Hindustan and amazed the entire globe. Such was the magnificence and splendor of this dynasty that it left the shah of Persia far behind in the battle of riches and power. It was the dynasty of the warriors from the steppes beyond the Oxus River and the Hindukush mountain range. This was the dynasty of the great Moguls (aka the Mughals). The lineage or legacy of the Mughals might have faded in the history books and stories but the splendid wealth and rich lifestyle this great dynasty had had can still be seen with the colossal buildings they erected in the form of palaces, forts and even tombs. I experienced it myself when I visited the fort of Agra. Spread around some 94 acres of land, it is one of the most beautiful structures built by the moguls.



The moment we enter the main gate of the fort, we get the regal feeling with beautiful windows carved with red sandstones.




The broad pathway leading the visitors to the main courtyard which has the hall of public audience, diwan-e-aam, round the corner is the first major point which attracts all the eyeballs.



Made with exquisite engraving on white marble, it was the place where the emperor would hear all the proceedings and problems of his administration and subjects and deliver the justice. There is also a marble dais beneath the place where the emperor would sit.

On one of the floors above the ground of this stupendous heritage site is the chamber which was the private quarter of the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. When he was incarcerated in his quarters by his son Aurangzeb who was the sixth Mughal emperor, he would see the Taj Mahal made by him for his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal from here. This private chamber comprised of many doors and parts in it is very finely and delicately carved with the semi precious stones filling the vibrant colors in the walls and the ceiling.





Taj still can be seen beyond Yamuna from the windows and the balcony and terrace.




Ascending spiral pathways, I found myself on the rooftop where the hall of private audience, diwan-e-khaas, still tells the story of the architectural brilliance and Mughal magnificence. This was the place where many decisions of political significance were taken centuries ago.  The windows with delicate latticework or jharokhas with jali screens just above the place where Mughal emperor used to sit in front of audience was the place where women of royal family would sit and see the proceedings of the court. The thought that this is the place where Noor Jahan had been sitting in the reign of his husband the fourth Mughal emperor, Jahangir, really fascinated me. But no emperor or empress can be seen here now but the pigeons fluttering peacefully, sitting on the stone platform.



Next part of the fort I visited was the harem-private chambers of imperial women. This was the most beautiful part of the fort I had seen by then. The walls of the rooms have endured many ups and downs and it can be clearly seen as the walls are scratched from many places with plasters done while renovation at many places.










The ceilings in rooms are in quite same condition. But, even these drawbacks could not alter the beauty of these chambers and the brilliant Persian, Arabic, and Rajasthani style of architecture is majestically grand.


Walls inlaid with semi precious stones which were extruded by the Britishers can be seen with the paint done with gold. With time, renovation has changed the face of the walls a bit as the golden color here is not the original gold done by the architectures back then but done later by the efforts of different governments ruling the nation.




But the natural beauty is still intact and can be felt regally here even today.

The bathtub of Jahangir which he had used since his youth or probably childhood, made with a single piece of stone can be seen here in the courtyard outside the main one near the entrance.



There are many parts in the fort which were quite deserted and it can be seen with their condition that they are not frequently visited by the people.



The fort of Agra is sumptuous in its look telling the glorious past of Hindustan and the exalted lifestyle of the dynasty which has affected the Indian culture to such an extent that we still feel proud of it. The tradition and culture of this dynasty from cuisine to apparels, from drinks to jewellery has been commingled with our lives in the way that it seems it was never absent from it.




My experience while beholding this mighty & deluxe structure left me awestruck and took me back in an era in which the mighty Mughals had ruled this country and had astonished the world. This monument is a must visit for all the travel loving people who wish to have an experience different not only in look but also in the feeling which takes us back into the glorious past and rich history.

Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Vindhyachal-dwelling place of Maa Vindhyavasini

The sun was glinting gold in the afternoon when I landed a narrow alley where one of the most revered temples of the world dedicated to Maa Durga-temple of Maa Vindhyavasini-is located. Numerous small shops with coconuts, vermillion, chunari, and other sacraments which are offered in the temple traditionally caught my attention as soon as I set foot in the main alley leading to the temple. It was an experience different altogether.


The moment I entered the vicinity of the main temple, I saw a long queue waiting to get inside the garbhagriha-sanctum sanctorum of the temple. After few minutes, crossing the threshold of the first chamber- on the left side was a wall black in color where I could see buzzing flies and realized that that was a chamber made for animal sacrifice. Crossing the second chamber, which was the sanctum sanctorum, I saw or I should better say, was bestowed with fortunate and blessed opportunity to behold the beautiful deity of Maa Vindhyavasini full of maternal affection and love.


Idol of maa Vindhyavasini is of black stone and can be seen highly adorned with gold and silver jewellery as well as embellished garments. Though pilgrims are allowed to worship the deity for just few seconds, it seemed to me an experience of lifetime and after only few seconds I was out of the garbhagriha and was in the temple complex where many chambers with many deities can be seen.

After experiencing this blessed occurrence, I embarked on my way to visit other two temples located on the nearby hillocks to complete the Trikona Parikrama.

Temple of Maa Vindhyavasini is one of the Shakteepeeths dedicated to Maa Adishakti. Located in the Vindhyachal mountain range, it is one of the most revered as well as one of the most visited Shakteepeeths of Maa Durga. But there is not only one temple in this range and there are two other venerated temples on nearby hillocks in the vicinity-temples of Maa Ashtabhuja and Maa Kaali in Kaalikhoh (cave of Maa Kaali). Circumambulation of these three deferential temples is called Trikona Parikrama– worshipping of three sacred points situated in a triangular angle. It is also said that these three temples are in an angle similar to that of Shreeyantra. Also, it is the only Shakteepeeth on the banks of the Ganges.


So my next point was the hillock on which Kaalikhoh temple is situated. Few kilometers away from the temple of maa Vindhyavasini was a hillock on which I was told the Kaalikhoh temple was located. It was quite dreary place unlike the one had just visited. Ascending many steps, I entered a cave inside which an idol of Maa Kaali was installed and only one priest was there for the worship at the moment. After few minutes I left the cave after worshipping the deity of maa Kaali in her fierce yet affectionate motherly form.



But then I saw some more steps leading to the extreme top of the hillock and I could not stop myself from exploring it and within a minute I was there. It gave me an extremely beautiful look of the Vindhya mountain range and the valleys from this point and also, a small Shivling with mysterious yet profound beauty and serenity.




I was in the domain of the temple of Maa Ashtabhuja after some time and was again experiencing the jostling yet composed pilgrims. The cave below the ground was the sanctum sanctorum here where I had to bend double to reach the deity and came out in the same way.





The deity here was also black in color and was beautiful to look at in an affectionate motherly form. There is another cave beneath the ground nearby the cave of Maa Ashtabhuja.



I again had to bent double and almost crawled to the innermost bent where idol of Paataalvasini Maa Kaali was installed. From the bent there I crawled my way back to the plain ground and I realized that my circumambulation aka Trikona Parikrama was complete.

This journey was complete but the experience I had here was lifetime and it had to be cherished forever.



From the great mountains and hills of Vindhyachal range to the milky water of the Ganges from the hilltop, from the appeasing sound of bells to the divine fragrance of flowers and incense, everything here was serene enough to mollify the tension and problems we come across in our day-to-day lives. I would ask anyone who has faith in god or love for nature to visit this place once in life as this one day jaunt is not only soothing and relaxing but it will also make all your sorrows wither away when you will visit this dwelling place of Maa Vindhyavasini.

Pictures courtesy- Except few pictures of deities(from Google), all pictures were clicked by me and some of them are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Land of Braj-land of lord

Serenity, divinity, gods own abode…that’s what the holy Vrindavan dham is all about.  Though I don’t get words to describe what I feel like when I enter the town of Vrindavan, numerous feelings and thoughts strike my mind…a sense of calmness, feeling of being disconnected with the materialistic world and a divine ecstasy. Have a look at the beautiful abode of god named vrindavan with me…..

Actually the whole braj mandal which covers vrindavan Mathura barsana, nandgaon, gokul, mahavan as its chief divine places is great in its look. I started my jaunt with the heart of brajvrindavan!

Madan Mohan temple which is at the walking distance from the most famous-banke bihari temple, is the most primitive temple in vrindavan. Like many other places, photography of the deities was forbidden-hence the building of the temple.



It is located on a hillock which is indeed a vantage point to look at the pilgrims from the temple premises.

Next was of course the Banke Bihari temple-the most crowded and revered temple of the town where I was jostled to an extent that I neither had an opportunity to click the picture of Thakurji, nor was it allowed.  Nevertheless, I was appeased when I left the temple vicinity both because I had got a pious glimpse-an auspicious sight of thakurji and was free from the jostling crowd. I would be betraying myself if I say I didn’t fall for the famous pedes-sweet made with khoya and sugar-of the narrow alley in which Banke Bihari temple is located.



The quality time I spent relaxing while boating was the best experience I had had in the town. The sun-looking like an orange ball-was sinking in the west glinting gold and the green water of Yamuna looked more serene than anything I have witnessed with the aarti on the banks I could see and hear on Keshi Ghat.




Next day, I headed towards Nandgaon-a town, some 50 kilometers away from vrindavan. Located on a hilltop, the main temple of Nandgaon is a beautiful one made of white stone. In striking contrast with the temple walls and floor, the deities are of black marble.  It was a very different experience and feels as if the world has stopped here as the lifestyle of people here is very simple and pristine in look.

Gokul, a small village with a temple at the location where it is said the home of lord Krishna was located is a beautiful and very tranquil place with the playground at the entrance of the temple which is believed to be the playground of lord Krishna and Balram in the Dwapar Yug some 5,500 years ago. Many idols depicting various scenes or incidents of shree Krishna’s life in different small chambers were lively as well as vivid to beautify the real incidents happened on this land.




Barsana- how is it possible for anyone to visit braj and not visit the hamlet of the most beloved consort of lord Krishna- shree Radha. Only few kilometers away from Nandgaon, Barsana as well is located on a hilltop which is a vantage point to see the whole village.


After Barsana, I headed towards vrindavan again as my day trip was over and the sun was started to sink beneath the horizon and the chill yet soothing air was making me relaxed after the daylong tottering from one location to another. I was happy and above everything else was satisfied after having a day full of visiting places which were not only religious but also full of positivity and the special feature which was the locations’ speciality to take me back in time of lord Krishna where I could literally see him with Balram, his parents, his friends, his beloved brijwasis and….his most beloved divine consort-shree Radharani.

Pictures courtesy- Except last two, all the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s