If you go by car from Jaipur to Agra this is definetely a must. Also it is for free.
This step well is one of the largest stepwells in the world. Built by King Chand during the 8th and 9th centuries and has 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry, which descend 20m to the bottom of the well.
Centuries ago, the stepwells were built in the arid zones of Rajasthan to provide water all year through. Today, the construction is not used as a well anymore but its exquisite geometry attracts local and international visitors alike. (Extracted from http://www.chandbaori.org).
At 11:45 we left Abhaneri and after 2 hours we were at Rajasthan Motel in the highway Jaipur-Agra having lunch. 3300 INR for the 8 of us. Excellent choice and recommended “pit stop”.
At 15:00 we arrived at Fatehpur Sikri parking, from there you have to take a bus (it is well indicated) that takes you to the temple and the Mosque for 10 INR each way. Paid 260 INR to get in the Fathepur (no students), the Mosque is for free, of course. We had to go quickly trough these 2 because we wanted to get to Agra before sunset.
This magnificent fortified ancient city, 40km west of Agra, was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire between 1571 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Akbar visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne. When the prophecy came true, Akbar built his new capital here, including a stunning mosque – still in use today – and three palaces for each of his favourite wives, one a Hindu, one a Muslim and one a Christian (though Hindu villagers in Sikri dispute these claims). The city was an Indo-Islamic masterpiece, but erected in an area that supposedly suffered from water shortages and so was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death.
At 16:10 we were on our way to the Taj Mahal.
Arrived at 17:45 close to the moon garden (Mehtab Bagh), on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in front of Taj Mahal. Payed 100 INR each to get in and watch the sunset with the Taj Mahal in front of us. Amazing experience. We stayed there around 1.5 hour. I read there is another way to get close to the Taj Mahal where you don´t have to pay, but since we were close to the sunset time we went straight to the recommended site.
Take into account that closes on Fridays and you can get in with almost anything except for tripods.
From the garden we went to have dinner at Indiana, amazing food and service, and they offered us to pay for 7 person instead of 8. The only thing is that 3 of us didn’t have a good night after this dinner.
After this dinner, and the wonderful feeling of seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time, we went to our lovely hotel: Radisson Blu Agra. Without question the best hotel of the trip. Walking distance from the Taj Mahal, excellent rooms and service, wonderful breakfast.
What could have gone better?
We needed more time to visit Fatehpur Sikri the way it should. Maybe leaving Jaipur earlier could have been a good idea. Or going straight from Chand Baori to the Taj Mahal, and then visit Fatehpur Sikri the next day, driving from Agra.
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