Monday, March 23, 2015

Quila-i-Mubarak: The Blessed Fort (Part 3)

Truly blessed at The Blessed Fort
Indeed, I am truly blessed. And humbled.

God knows I'm an orphan child - without anyone to rely on in this world. Like water, I continue to flow. With no destination in mind, just free flowing to where the crowds lead. At the entrance of the Red Fort, I was just in time to be joined by a group of foreign businessmen who happens to have an extra pair of tickets ...... for me! I don't know anyone of them, but one of them seemed to know me! I was only a lone traveller in this exotic land and stumbled across another traveller who offered me a free entry into India's largest monument. I was truly blessed. Thankful to God for bestowing me with his rich blessings, taking me to places I've never been before. These must be the fruits of my faith in the Almighty.

The Lahori Gate
The stark difference from being in such close proximity to other exotic creatures to suddenly having huge expanse of spaces to walk upon was truly a relief to the senses. This was once the place for ancient royalties - for kings, princes, princesses and their harem. The Lahori Gate was truly remarkable to see - its red sandstone still looks so red today. Upon entry, I was greeted by the bazaar where trinkets of all kinds were sold. I remembered purchasing an embroidered rug earlier at the "Museum of Textile" at the Kailash district. I suspected the trader there might have cheated me and tried to enquire and compare the prices here instead. It's almost the same price. But I remembered Ali at The Metro informing me that I could get the rug for 400 rupees lesser.

The Museum
I continued serenading further into the corridor from the Lahori Gate. The high ceilings above finally gave way to the open skies. The air becomes slightly hotter for the afternoon sun was shining mercilessly down. Quickly, I was led by the hot breeze turning left towards the Museum where the air seem cooler. The whole history of India's independence from the British Empire can be found displayed in this museum. Large portraits of the many Indian heroes and heroines can be found along the hallways including the famous Gandhi. For me, I was more interested in the pre-history before the fight for Independence, when the king Shah Jahan built this magnificent palace.

I walked through the long entryway towards a pavillion housing the marbled grave of the emperor. It's the grandest tomb I've ever seen with its carved stone lid on top of the giant marbled case where the body of the emperor is resting. It is further protected by a giant glass case where at the top lies an ornately carved marble cottage. Higher above lies the ceiling with the half-moon crescent motifs indicative of the emperors' Islamic heritage. It's time to leave the Diwan-i-Aam and enter the Imperial enclosure.

The Imperial Enclosure
Here must be where the royalties relax and just let loose after all the strict public addressings were made at Diwan-i-Aam. I can hear birds chirping and flying across the crystal blue sky. I could see the Khas Mahal and Rang Mahal ahead of me. I walked towards it, enjoying the cool air. Along the way, a couple of locals asked me to be in their pictures. I found this to be a little strange, but agreed anyway. I supposed I must be as exotic as any of the beautiful monuments there and meant to be photographed too and be kept in their collections. I noticed also many tiny squirrels squrrying around up and down into the trees.

Can you spot the two tiny squirrels?
I followed quietly one of the squirrels into one of the trees and two more quickly appeared. These two were looking at me intently as I neared them. It was not afraid or easily frightened by my presence. They might have thought I was one of the Imperial princes coming to feed or hide it inside my golden imperial robe to be brought back as some amusement for the royal harem. I left these squirrels alone in their mischief. I was too entranced to be gazing into the Life-Bestowing Garden (Hayat Bakhsh Bagh).

A peek inside the forbidden pavillion
The reservoirs are now dried. But imagine what a beautiful garden this must be in the ancient times. The Zafar Mahal at the centre stands beautifully in between the two white pavillions of Savon and Bhadon. I was tempted to jump into the imaginary waters of my mind and frolicked with the birds. But it seems everywhere is dry. The hot sun above was shining at its zenith and I need to find some shades to cool off before I leave.

The Shahi Burj
The green grass looked so calming even in the absence of any water reservoir. The Emperor's study room (Shahi Burj) and its pavillions were surrounding me. Being on the grass was enough for me to absorb all the Emperor's secret and magical knowledge in building this magnificent palace of his. I laid my tired head on the soft ground and listened to its grass whispering words of ancient wisdom, carried by the wind into my ear. The wind was blowing gently at first but soon turned into a sudden gush. Like the wind, I too, have to fly into its direction ... wherever it may blows.

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