Friday, January 23, 2009

Trip to Bharatpur-Fatehpur Sikri-Taj, Agra

17th Jan 09 7AM Started from Gurgaon for Bharatpur accompanying a group of 175 people including children. We had hired five 35 seaters deluxe buses and some guests were travelling on their own. It was a corporate family leisure outing which is a yearly affair and our company Around Delhi was doing it for the third time for them. The route taken-Gurgaon-Sohna-Palwal-Kosi-Mathura-Bharatpur. The road was clear though a little bumpy, but we reached Palwal from Hero Honda Chowk, Gurgaon in 90 mins.
10:00-11:20 AM Bfast at Country Inn, Kosi. A nice resort with lot of open green areas and the bfast was wonderful with good choice.
1:30 PM Reached Kadamb Kunj where the lunch for the whole group was arranged. We were staying at both Kadamb Kunj and Uday Villas as we needed about 65 rooms.
3:30 PM After lunch and check ins we proceeded to the Bhartapur Bird Sanctuary for a visit, Keoladeo National Park welcomes birds from all over the World during the winter months and this attracts tourists from around the Globe to see them. After taking the tickets for the guests and the buses we entered the park and parked at the second barrier in the park, the place from the wet lands start and the real birding is possible. One can either hire a rickshaw or a bicycle to visit the sanctuary, a few battery operated vans are also available. Remember to carry your binoculars and a bird book, if you have one. The rickshaw pullers are trained guides and can help you in identifying the avian population. There is a lot of water this time after a long gap and even boating is possible in the park. The various species seen were painted storks, egrets, sarus crane, black headed ibis, kingfisher, Indian and purple moore hen etc.
7:30-10:30 Evening party with tambola and cocktails with bon fire.

18th Jan 09 9:30 Am After breakfast headed to Fatehpur Sikri, which was just 15 km away. The stretch between Bharatpur and Agra is being four laned with work going on at many places, but is much better than before and hopefully work will be completed soon. At Sikri, like Taj Mahal, one has to park one's vehicle about one km away and take a battery operated van to reach. Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage site came into existence when Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpur Sikri his headquarters. So he built this majestic fort. But due to shortage of water he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort. One of the main attractions here are the Buland Darwaza, Dargarh of Salim Chisti and various Mahals of Mughal Emperor Akbar and his navratnas. Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti is famed as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India. Situated near Zenana Rauza and facing south towards Buland Darwaza, it enshrines the burial place of the Sufi saint who lived a religious life here. The mausoleum, constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, was built during the years 1580 and 1581.

11:30 PM moved to Agra for seeing the Taj. The road after reaching Agra was really crowded and it took a lot of time in the city, it's high time the city roads in Agra improve to at least national standards. We again took the battery vans to reach the Taj. Even after having seen Taj so may times before, it's sight never fails to satisfy one's senses. Being a Sunday, it was quiet crowded and the frisking at the entrance took us a lot of time to enter. After the visit to the Taj, we had our lunch at the Haveli restaurant on the Fatehabad road. The food and arrangements were simply amazing and very well handled. Soon it was time to head back to Delhi and we reached back Guragaon at 10 PM having started at 5 PM from Agra. Though the tour was a very hectic one, the guests had their money's worth having seen and enjoyed so much in such a short time.
Dr. Anand,

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