A trip out by car from Agra, to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, and then on to visit the Tomb of Akbar at Sikandra.

This was another trip we had booked in advance online, on the Taj Mahal Cabs website. No advance payment necessary, and the company owner turned up in good time at our hotel this morning to ensure everything was ok with our taxi and the driver was properly briefed on our plans. An excellent service, and one we can happily recommend to others.

An early start straight after breakfast on the drive for about 20 miles from Agra, so we arrived at Fatehpur Sikri as it opened and way before the crowds. A world heritage site, this walled city was built in the 1500s by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The city was later abandoned, most likely due to a lack of sufficient water supplies. The visit kept us occupied for a good two or three hours.

We had asked to include an extra visit on our return trip, much closer to the outskirts of Agra. The Tomb of Emperor Akbar at Sikandra is a mix of red sandstone and white marble structures, in a huge walled garden. The style is starting to develop from his father Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, and the influences for the Taj Mahal are evident.

Because of our early start, we were back at the hotel in time for lunch, and spent the afternoon reading and relaxing around the outdoor pool (interspersed with visits to the cocktail bar!). We also got a sneak preview of tomorrow’s visit, from the rooftop observatory at the hotel, with line of sight to the ┬ámagnificent Taj Mahal!

Tomorrow, the big one! – seeing the sun rise at the iconic Taj Mahal. I can’t wait!