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Magnificent Moghuls

Agra, Delhi and the Punjab

View Sydney to London 1964 on Ozac's travel map.

Tuesday 3-11-1964 Diwali Day

We spent today in Agra, full of fabulous Moghul monuments. I saw the Taj Mahal, in all its hypnotic perfection, at sunrise.

Another ambition fulfilled. It was not in the least disappointing as people had been leading me to expect. Fatepur Sikri, the abandoned Moghul city was just as superb. What a civilization! The Agra Fort, with its marble palaces and unforgettable view of the Taj further up the River Jumna.

To be there at sunset - what a perfect way to complete a day. Agra seen maybe too swiftly to be really appreciated fully, and we were on the train next morning for Delhi.

Thursday 5-11-1964 Excerpt from a letter home

Dear Family,
We are now in New Delhi, capital of India, after a hectic ten days of travelling down from Nepal. I have not had a bath for three days, I have been living and sleeping in the same clothes for ten days, I have been sleeping in station waiting rooms, and I have a slight cold, so I was feeling quite miserable this morning. Then I picked up your letter from American Express, and that picked up my spirits again………About Christmas and birthdays, it is very difficult to know what to do. I think I will have to limit my side to cards and perhaps one collective Christmas present, as I have little money to spare and postage is so expensive……….I think it would be best for you to send just one parcel to me in Teheran, Iran, where I hope to be for Christmas, and not worry about my birthday, as I will probably be somewhere in Afghanistan for that………What do I want? Well, practical things that I need but cannot obtain. If they are not expensive, I would really like an inflatable rubber mattress, as hard stone floors are getting colder and harder now as winter is approaching over here. I would like a few packets of Wilkinson Sword razor blades, and some non-perishable foodstuffs……….After having had hot sunny weather all the time since we arrived, it is gradually starting to get colder, particularly at night , as we move further west……….once we start wearing heavy clothes all the time our packs will be lightened considerably, so we are looking forward to cold weather………At sunrise on Tuesday last we laid eyes on the Taj Mahal. It was beautiful beyond description. No photographs do it justice. It needs to be seen in its complete surroundings to be really appreciated. Viewing it from the usual position, head on down the pool, it seems to have a misty atmosphere about it. It is really hypnotic. We saw it again at late afternoon, in the distance across the river. We were standing on a balcony at Agra Fort, where the Emperor who built the Taj was imprisoned by his son in a room where he could see the tomb he had built for his wife Mumtaz. We also went out to Fatepur Sikri, a fantastic old deserted Moghul city, built by Akbar. It is in a perfect state of preservation, and as you wander through the palaces and squares, you can visualize the colourful and lavish life the Moghul emperor must have lived there. Delhi we have not seen much of as yet, as we have been too busy fixing up visas etc.. As soon as we get that settled we will move on to the property of the chap we met on the ship, (the Indian in our cabin), and we hope to have a good few days rest there. Then Chandigarh, Amritsar and into Pakistan. We will be glad to have a change from India. We have been here quite a long time, and I think we need to get into another country to get the feeling we are moving towards our final destination.

P.S. (7-11-64) We have our visas now, so we will be leaving Delhi tomorrow night, Sunday. However we will have to move fairly fast, as we must be at the Afghanistan border within two weeks, and our visas for Iran only allow us fifteen days there. So we may have passed through Teheran by Christmas, depending upon how long we remain in Afghanistan. However, send any Christmas mail there anyway, and it just means I will get it a little early. But you must post immediately, to be safe.

Love to you All, John

Wednesday 4-11-64 to Saturday 14-11-1964

No entry for ten days - I am really slipping up. In this time I have seen Delhi, the capital, cleanest and most up-to-date city in India.

Parliament Buildings, New Delhi

Parliament Buildings, New Delhi

We stayed one night in the luxury of an American official’s home, another two in the home of Beant Singh’s brother. Quite comfortable. Collected our mail, saw a little of Delhi, fixed up our visas for Afghanistan and Iran. Now ready for the long journey ahead. In Jullunder, we were disappointed not to find Peter Singh. We tried without success to find the village address he had given us when we left the ship in Bombay. Bang goes our four days rest. Met a Kenyan refugee and stayed with him three nights instead. Took a trip out to Chandigarh, really interesting. I was very impressed by the three Le Corbusier buildings.

Amritsar, we saw the beautiful Golden Temple of the Sikhs and stayed in the free rest house, where we picked up God knows how many bedbugs. I am a mass of bites. They must be in my sleeping bag. We crossed the border to Lahore by train on the morning of Friday 13th November and caught the evening train to Rawalpindi, where I am writing this in the waiting room, Ist Class.

Posted by Ozac 23:10 Archived in India Tagged delhi taj_mahal agra moghuls

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