After taking an early night in Agra (after all, we did wake up before dawn. Worth it… but still tiring!), we got on the bus to head towards Jaipur. On our way there, we had a few stops to make.
The first was a fort called Fatehpur Sikri and it was the fort/palace that the Mughals used to rule from. As with everything in India, it was immense! The palace side was giant in its own right, and then there was a mosque attached that was also giant. It’s incredible just how big everything it seems the Indian civilizations built is.
As we walked through, the guide talked about how the main king in this palace had three wives – a Hindu wife, a Muslim wife, and a Christian wife. I feel like there’s a “three wives walked into a bar” joke coming, but alas, no such luck. He did point out the different parts of the palace that were made for each wife, and it was definitely clear to the wives who was the favorite. The guide pointed to one wife’s room (literally just a room), and then we got to the favorite wife’s section of the palace – and it was giant.
So there was no question about who the favorite was.
We walked into the mosque with the king’s mausoleum, and it was one of the more interesting mosques – like most of the palace, it was done in gorgeous red sandstone. However, the mausoleum was done in pure white marble (like the Taj Mahal… there’s a theme in virtually every old building in India, or at least the ones I visited).
After we finished with the fort, we headed on our way and stopped at the Abhaneri Stepwell. Historically, stepwells were how Indians collected water and retrieved water – there were many staircases so you could go down to the water level to collect the water. As with all Indian architecture, balance was key, so the symmetry makes it even more gorgeous!
And of course… sometimes you get what you get when you decide to visit India during monsoon season. While we’d been incredibly lucky with the weather up to that point in the week, the afternoon we were at the step well it poured! We all got drenched, and I was happy to have my GoPro so I could still get pictures.
We then gathered back on the bus, all quite wet, and headed on to Dhula Village. Dhula Village is a G Adventures special inclusion – basically, it’s a stop at a rural village in India in between Agra and Jaipur, and it’s a great chance to get to see real life outside of the tourist hotspots.
The camp they have there is really cool (and would be amazing in slightly better weather! Though by this point it had stopped pouring!). The tents have no air conditioning, but they are set up with plumping, electricity, and fans, as well as proper beds. The camp is relatively small, so we were the only group there, and it was a fun night to swim in the pool and just generally enjoy some down time.
In India, monsoon season is also peacock mating season. There were more peacocks than I’ve ever seen, and the males were constantly dancing for the females. It was so cool to get to see them in their natural habitat. And the morning was so cool to wake up with – you could hear them all calling to each other, and then there was a big male peacock doing the mating dance right outside my tent. (I do not, however, think he was dancing for me. 😉 )
The next morning, you could go on a walk around town or on a bike ride, and I opted for the walk. I managed to get a pretty bad cold in India, and I was feeling pretty terrible by this time. So the walk was plenty for me! It was funny to just see all sorts of goats walking down the road throughout the town!
As we walked through the town, we could see the kids going to school and lining up for morning attendance, and then we walked up to an old palace that the owners of the camp restored and made into a hotel. It was very pretty, and looked like a wonderful retreat.
From forts to step wells to the rural village, it was a busy and interesting few days!