Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fatehpur Sikri, The Ghost Palace

On the way between Agra and Baradhpur, we stop at Fatehpur Sikri, which is always billed as a ghost town or ghost palace. It is, in fact, an abanadoned palace/temple compound, red sandstone and lovely. But I don't know why everybody insists on calling it a ghost town or ghost palace, simply because it is unoccupied. I mean, all the palaces we visit that are now tourist sites/museums are unoccupied. No tumbleweed goes drifting past. At least, not while we are there.


We do have plenty of cows and pigs and goats drifting by, however, between the main palace and a back temple area. We walk the gauntlet between the two, preferring the cows and pigs to a whole gaggle of the most aggressive hawkers ever.


At the back temple complex, we encounter a head-shaving ceremony for a boy's first birthday and a temple where you are supposed to purchase then donate string and fabric in order to make three wishes. Being more skeptical and stingy than superstitious, but still wanting to indulge Pippa's wish to make wishes, I tell her to whisper her three wishes into the temple through the lattice wall. This is always a risky move in our family, as Gigi just recently told us that she made the same wish at every opportunity up till her recent eighth birthday: to get a real fairy wand that would do real magic. Evidently, a Wii does not do the trick.


Here, again, our daughters are a star attraction, and people want to take photos of Pippa & Gigi as much as we want photos of them.


If you are interested in knowing more, this is one of the more loving and detailed descriptions of Fatehpur Sikri. We like the place, but I think this NY Times writer likes it a whole lot more:

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