November 2, 2009
Oh my. It does feel good to go.
Now, don't get me wrong. Fatehpur Sikri isn't a bad place and it does have things worth seeing. But it's good for one very full day and two nights, tops. I was there for five days and four nights.
I did most of my site seeing on Thursday afternoon. First stop: Jama Masjid mosque. Monetarily it is free but the price is unrelenting hassle from volunteer guides. The outside is actually more interesting than the inside.
The paid section was significantly quieter but I still had to deal with official guides angling for business. Some seemed unwilling to understand that it might be possible and even preferable to enjoy a monument without a guide yabbering away with facts about the site and tugging at my arm to tell me where to look next. If I want facts, I'll read a book. (I have books). If I want to explore the angles and impact of a piece of architecture or line up a photo, I prefer to be left alone.
I did find some some intricately carved rooms. That's a big step up from other examples of Mughal architecture. Most times, without the (usually) long lost ornamentation, the interiors are pretty dull.
Towards dusk, I felt a disturbing rumble but nothing I couldn't deal with. Before I zoned out for the night, it was clear I had something worse: The expected, but never entirely predictable ?Delhi belly? had come early.
That pretty well ruled my world Friday and Saturday. My med kit was not what it should have been. Only enough antibiotics for one incident and no electrolyte packets. On Sunday, I relented and started the antibiotics. I also managed to secure some electrolyte packs from the hotel manager. That meant that today, I was healthy enough (although dramatically underfed) to see the last of sites and head on down the road. I really liked Hiran Minor: the tower dedicated to Ackbar's favorite elephant. The sides are adorned with stone tusks.
It goes without saying that I couldn't eat very much the last few days, but the all vegetarian menu and lack of trustworthy options around town made it hard to make those few bites count. Hopefully, I can recover while enjoying the bird sanctuary.