Almost 40km west of Agra is Fatehpur Sikri; a walled city that was built in the 16th century during the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar and served as the capitol for a short time.
This historic site can be reached easily and cheaply by catching one of the many local buses which run quite frequently from Agra. These buses are however far from comfortable. From the look of these buses, it’s amazing they’reÂ running at all. The metal panels that make up the body of the bus are rusting, twisted, dented or just missing completely. The inside comes as no surprise and is as much of a mess as the outside. The driver starts the engine and the bus shakes violently causing all the loose parts of the bus to clang
together in a deafening chorus. As the bus pulls away, the sound of the engine intensifies, and then the floor begins to shake as the speed is increased to a death defying 30km/hour. Every moving part of this bus is screaming in pain, and I am very close to joining in. As well as the ear shattering noise, the ride quality is equally as bad. I donâ€™t think there is any kind suspension. Every bump and pothole in the road sends each person flying in the air with a broken pelvis as though concrete wheels had been welded directly onto the chassis.
Arriving in Fatehpur Sikri
From where the bus stops at Fatehpur Sikri, there is a short walk up to the main monument. Surrounding the monument are some very busy street full of market traders. Itâ€™s quite a steep trek up to the monument and for a while I got a little lost within the tangled streets of the market place. Eventually I reached the grand entrance to Fatehpur Sikri and began to scale the stairs to the main gate. This is where the annoyances began.
Seriously, I donâ€™t want to buy anything
Fatehpur Sikri has a high concentration of touts peddling all sorts of rubbish from pens to handmade chess sets, and their persistence seemingly knows no limits. As I attempted to enter the monument, I am surrounded by a crowd of touts shoving dvdâ€™s, jewellery and postcards in my face. Most of the touts are young children. I eventually pushed my way through the wall of touts but a small group didnâ€™t leave me alone for a second and followed me everywhere I went constantly pitching their wares. It was infuriating, they were making me so mad, but even this didnâ€™t deter them. There are even more touts inside the monument. Some of them had laid blankets out on the floor and set up their own market place. There is simply no escape. I couldnâ€™t enjoy or learn much about this historic site and left after about 15 minutes simply to get away from the touts.