Shah Jahan’s Prison

Agra has a lot of history. For example, it was once the capital of the vast Mughal empire. It is a very old and fascinating place. But most importantly, Agra Fort had a huge part in that history.

While Shah Jahan did build many beautiful buildings, he didn’t actually build Agra Fort. His grandfather, Emperor Akbar the Great was the emperor who originally started building it. However, several emperors after Akbar did add onto the fort, including Emperor Shah Jahan.

Emperor Shah Jahan did have another part in the Agra Fort’s history besides just building part of it. Thirty years after Shah Jahan inherited the throne, his third son ended Shah Jahan’s reign. In 1658, Shah Jahan’s third son, Aurangzeb, captured his father and locked him up in the Agra Fort in the beautiful Jasmine Tower. But why was he imprisoned in the Agra Fort?

During his father’s reign, Aurangzeb had been growing angry over the huge amount of money being spent on buildings such as the Taj Mahal. Buildings that were quite beautiful, but also quite expensive. One such example is the Taj Mahal, or the mausoleum that Shah Jahan had planned for himself. This mausoleum was to be across the river from the Taj Mahal, and very similar to the Taj’s design. However, it was to be black. But Aurangzeb captured Shah Jahan before this mausoleum could be built.

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This is Jasmine Tower from the outside. We did not get to see the inside, but it is rumored to be very beautiful.

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This is the view Shah Jahan saw from his tower. Maybe seeing his wife’s tomb was some comfort to him during his eight long years of imprisonment.

The Agra Fort is massive, perhaps even bigger than the Red Fort in Delhi. However, only a part of it is open to the public. The section of the fort that is blocked off is currently being used as a military fort. A funny fact about this fort is that though it’s many rooms are no longer occupied by people, they are full with families of monkeys.
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We saw this monkey hanging out on the fence as we left. Not very pretty, are they?

The section open to the public consists mainly of three courts. The first court was for Shah Jahan and his harem, the second court is where he met his court, and the third court was where the royals, upper class, and lower class could shop for goods that merchants had to sell.

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This is the garden for Shah Jahan and his harem. This picture also gives you a view of the balconies.

The first court is a garden for him and his harem that consists of flower beds separated into puzzle piece like shapes, and a fountain. The entire gardens are surrounded two levels of rooms, and the rooms on the top level have balconies that look out over the garden.

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This is the pavilion where Shah Jahan sat when he made his royal decisions.

The second court is, as I mentioned, where Shah Jahan met his court and made his royal decisions. His chair was set upon a large white pavilion that was in the center of more gardens. However, these gardens are much smaller than the gardens for him and his harem.
In front of the pavilion, there are two things that are slightly out of place. One is a cannon (which, along with the tomb was probably put there when the British occupied India), and the other is a tomb. The tomb is the grave of a British man named John Russel Colvin who was lieutenant-governor during the change of power in India from the hands of the East India Company to the hands of the crown.
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This is the tomb of John Russel Colvin.

The third court, which is reached by stairs at the back of the white pavilion in the second court, was where the upper class and lower class could shop. Merchants were allowed to set up stalls so that the people could look at or buy the goods they had to sell. However, as the upper class would not mix or interact with commoners, they shopped upstairs on the second floor and yelled down to the merchants what they wanted. Behind this court is the Jasmine Tower where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by Aurangzeb.

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This is the court where the upper and lower classes shopped.

I thought it was cool to be walking the same halls that Shah Jahan, his huge family (meaning that he had a lot of wives and children, not that they were really fat), and their descendants had walked hundreds of years ago. A lot of times, just knowing stuff about people that isn’t always true can give you a bad impression of what they might have been like. But I think that sometimes just knowing how they lived or what their life was like makes you kind of respect or understand them more than you might have before.

I got my information from:

5 types of animals in Delhi not see on most streets

Animals make up a large part of Delhi’s population. Wandering the streets are goats, cows, dogs, donkeys, horses, and sometimes an elephant or camel. These are the animals seen every day all over Delhi.

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This is a goat in the basti

In America, probably the most common animals people have as pets are dogs or cats. But in India, goats are probably the most common animal for a pet. Even better, these unusual pets wear clothes! There are lots of goats wandering the basti’s streets wearing T-shirts, pants, tank tops, and even blazers! My Indian friend Zareena had a goat that would wear a blazer in the wintertime, and I have seen lots of goats wearing tank tops.

A lot of times, elephants are seen on grasslands in Africa. But believe it or not, there are elephants in Asia too! They are rather scarce in Delhi, but there are even more in other parts of India. However, even though there are not many in Delhi, my family and I have seen a couple walking down the street in front of Khan Market.

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A painted elephant

Camels are about as scarce as elephants in this city, but every so often they do appear on Delhi’s streets. However, as with elephants and horses, they are never without a rider. If you meet one, you might want to be careful around them because I have heard they spit. I have never gotten close enough to find out, and nor do I want to. And if you ever are considering taking a ride on one, just remember that riding a camel can be very bumpy and will probably make you sore. My dad has ridden one once, and after he dismounted the camel he said it was really bumpy and made him really sore.

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A man riding a camel

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A camel up close

Another unusual animal seen on Delhi’s streets is a cow. Although in America cows are normally found on farms, here they are found on the street. Cows might make up the largest portion of Delhi’s animal population. One time, we were driving through a neighborhood here in Delhi and my brother and I counted up to fifty cows. The reason for this is because India’s population is mostly Hindu, and cows are sacred to Hindus. Because they are sacred animals, it is illegal in Delhi and in many other Indian states for anybody to kill a cow for any purpose. They eat trash, and whatever grass they can find, and sometimes people will milk them.

Another animal that is rather common in India is a monkey. Monkeys are often thought to be cute and nice, but in India, they are the exact opposite. They can be very nasty and naughty and if you’ve ever gotten close enough to see how cute it is, then it’s probably already doing something nasty to you. I have had at least two close calls with monkeys at two different times. However, the first time wasn’t actually in India, but in Nepal at the Monkey Temple. The second time, the monkey just frightened my mom and I. We were at my dentist’s office waiting for our taxi to come, and at one point I heard shouting and yelling inside the gate. Then all of a sudden, I saw something furry fly past my feet. At first I thought it was a dog, but then I realized it was a monkey. Thankfully, it ignored me and didn’t touch my mom or I, but just ran down the road to some trees nearby. My mom shrieked when she saw it, but when it passed, she and I started laughing.

The countries of the world are full of thousands of different species and animals. India is no exception. There are peacocks and parakeets, donkeys and horses, and so many other species. These are just a few of the animals I see in Delhi every day.