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The Hidden Danger of a Famous Tourist Attraction

This is a beautiful tourist attraction in India... so what's the danger?

This is a beautiful tourist attraction in India… so what’s the danger?

Some dangers are so surprising, they become funny. Let’s see if you can guess this one, spotted during my teacher tour in India last year. The scene takes place at the Jama Masjid mosque in the town of Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, the city most famous for housing the Taj Mahal.

It's a beautiful mosque.

At Jama Masjid mosque in Fatehpur Sikri, you must remove your shoes. The courtyard is vast.

The Jama Masjid mosque is gorgeous and giant, and was completed in 1575… over 430 years ago! So what’s the danger here? Falling stones? Tripping hazards? Lightning? Nope… Let’s keep walking across the expansive courtyard to the arch towering at the far side. But remember, because this is a mosque, your shoes must be off! (That is a hint…)

The stairs behind the mosque. People come from around the world to worship and to take photos.

Here are the stairs behind the mosque. People come from around the world to worship and take photos.

At the back of the mosque, steep stone stairs lead from the town up to a massive, ornately carved arch entrance. Now, look carefully at the next photo, displaying this entrance. Do you see the danger lurking? (No, it’s not my husband’s treacherously handsome face in the lower right corner, though that is a valid answer.)

Look up... Can you spot the danger hidden in the arches?

Look up… Can you spot the danger hidden in the arches?

Did you see it? The arches are studded with dozens of big, fat wasps’ nests!!!! As a result, the ground for hundreds of square feet below is littered with dead, dying, or simply reclining waspities, just waiting to pierce the unshod foot of an unsuspecting visitor. YIPES!

Argh! Watch your feet for the hidden danger!

Argh! Watch your feet for the hidden danger! Hundreds of wasps litter the ground.

Needless to say, the archway was still swarming (forgive the punny word choice) with tourists and locals in naked feet. Inches from the wasp carpet, I took this photo, below, of two serene siblings looking out on the colorful town beyond.

Despite the wasps, a boy and his sister sit serenely on the steps leading to the mosque.

Despite the wasps, a boy and his sister sit calmly on the steps leading to the mosque.

Our teacher group painstakingly tiptoed around the wasps and back through the arch into the courtyard, breathing a sigh of relief once the danger had been surmounted. Who would have thought that a historic tourist attraction could pose such a threat to our innocent little toes?

Such a beautiful structure.

The sun set, and our feet were thankfully unharmed.

Luckily, the danger at this stately site is easily avoidable if you know where to look, and the beauty and importance of the mosque make up for any worries. I wonder, though: is this wasp nest situation a common phenomenon? Do old-time arches frequently hold sizable insect homes, or other creepy crawlies? Readers, what have YOU seen of this topic in your world travels? Do share.

The sun set and our feet were unharmed.

Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri is worth dodging the wasps for!

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Roshan Kumar

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Nice post, the images are too good. Thanks for making people aware of these hidden dangers of these historical places.

Lillie Marshall

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Thanks, Roshan!

Laila Hopkins

Thursday 8th of January 2015

The wasp thing is very terrifying!!! Good thing you mentioned the jeopardizing danger of the Jama Masjid Mosque, because I would be very unaware of my surroundings.

Dusty

Thursday 1st of May 2014

The third to last photo is stunning. I love the siblings sitting gazing out over the town, and the colour of the buildings is superb. Thank you for sharing. Photos like this make for own trip to India later this year all the more exciting.

Lillie

Thursday 1st of May 2014

Thanks, Dusty! You will have a fabulous time!

Monnette

Friday 25th of April 2014

I can't imagine how you could marvel at something at eye level or above it while taking care not to step on wasps...

Alora May

Thursday 24th of April 2014

I've encountered rough or uneven ground after mandatory shoe removal but never wasps! Glad you made it through unharmed.

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