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March 16, 2020 / catherinebwrites


It looks pretty daunting. It’s a military fort built by the Mughal Emperors. Did I really want to visit a military fort? They say it’s one of the things you must do in Delhi, so, what the heck.

There’s a long walk to the ticket office where there is one queue for men, one for ladies, one for the disabled and one for foreigners. Foreigners pay more to get in but that’s okay. Then there’s a long walk back to the entrance.

As we walked up the ramp to the main gate I saw a guide gathering his group,

“This was the first defence.” he said, “the moat had water and it was filled with snakes and crocodiles.”

I decided to earwig and here’s what I learned.

The second line of defense:

If an enemy succeeded in getting ladders across the crocodile and snake filled moat and started to climb, the Emperor’s army poured oil through the row of openings and set the oil on fire.

The third line of defense:

The Emperor’s archers shot a deluge of arrows on you through the openings at the next level. If you still got through, fair dues.

Fourth line of defense:

You found yourself in a corridor populated by lions, tigers and leopards. That worked a treat till the British arrived and blasted their way in with canon… the rest is the story of Empire.

Once through the main gate there was an avenue of shops full of colourful jewelry, paintings, pashminas, carvings and all the shiny fecky-las that attract tourists. Outside each shop stood a watchful man, waiting to catch your curious eye and invite you inside to buy.

“Very cheap, fixed price.” they smiled.

Beyond the shops I was expecting a barracks and flagstone squares designed for soldiers to march and practise drills. Instead we discovered lawns, avenues of trees, gardens, fountains, pavilions, a harem, a mosque and several small museums. And the area covered was enormous. There were military quarters somewhere but what we saw was obviously the place where Mughal emperors, their wives, families and courtiers lived, ruled and entertained in the grandest of style.

One of the buildings had a museum of portraits of upper class Indians of the past, wearing the most fabulous gear.

Most of the visitors we saw were Indian families out for the day. Many of them also wearing fabulous gear. Not draped in jewels and gold like the Maharajahs in the portraits but equally colourful.

Even the babies wore make up and dazzling colour!


Leave a Comment
  1. Cherryl / Apr 4 2020 4:18 pm

    Wow, the baby outfit – a bit of tiger print 😄


  2. catherinebwrites / Apr 5 2020 10:41 am

    The khol eye make up protects him from evil spirits… so I’m told.


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