We drove down from Kurja, Uttar Pradesh where we were visiting relatives and going to see our very own Taj Mahal in Agra. We took the Yamuna Expressway and we had such a great ride. The midway has a restaurant and a washroom and if you live in Delhi then you have such an amazing weekend getaway.
Living in India, if you haven't visited this monumental master piece, well than, you haven't really done a lot in your life then. But I really miss those days when there wasn't a big hoopla was seeing the Taj. It was just a normal day out, entering the historical sight, roaming freely without those plastic thingies on my feet. But perhaps the Taj falling apart could be one of the reasons why they have all these rules levied upon it these days.
|The local transport to the Taj|
|The entrance gate|
|the First Look|
|Posing from another angle|
But all that is secondary. First is the view of Taj as you cross the roads and see the Yamuna River (that's getting dry) and you will be zapped at first, filled with a sense of anticipation. The Taj Mahal, is named aptly. It really does look like a crown (on the head of India). There is a entry that starts from its entrance, that's just two kilometers away. You can hire a jhonga or a camel cart. Both are attractive and interesting as a mode of transportation. They will charge you Rs 10 per person. Or if you are good with this bargaining thing, then maybe less. I am not good at bargaining and tend to give away money without a word. The ride was good but the line was long and I mean super long. The guide around will charge you 600rs for entering directly without the hasseles of joining a queue. And its up to you. There will be a through checkup, no eatables and certainly no metals allowed. You can carry baby food if you want. They are kind with people with children. Now if you move forward (and i am sure you are dying to just skip that other entrance), you will see the wide gardens maintained beautifully. You can get your personal photographer too if you want the right angle for those amazing evergreen pictures, We got one and it's really romantic and quirky and you can share a few laughs too.
The videography is not allowed after you step into the gate where you can see the Taj Mahal. But take loads of pictures, no one will stop you. Don't forget to take a camera pass too. The line continues as you get nearer and if you can get a VIP pass (like defense) or simply buying one will get you in front sooner. It's happening all around the world now, taking such passes to get into the building. Crammed, you will still get to look around, there isn't much inside except for two very imposing graves of the ruler and his favorite wife. So did you know Mumtaz Mahal was actually having an affair with Shah Jahan before they got married? She was already married then and he killed her husband to get her. Eventually they were so much together, they conceived 14 children. And she died of child birth. But still he loved her, the point is that. And in those times, you have to consider that arrange marriage was a thing. Kingdoms married to gain another kingdom, so well you have to give then that.
The Persian and Arabic scriptures on the walls is intact though the little holes that you see along the way are the gems and precious stones removed by whoever invaded India. Imagine those guys had so much money to squander on a tombstone. But the actually gave is under ground and no one is allowed to see that now. Some even say that it has been moved. But could be rumors. I had the chance of going underground in 2002, but now you just gaze at it longingly. A history buff, it really does take the charm away.
You can loiter around the corridors for a few more pictures and then take your way home. We even visit the handloom shops which is sadly lacking in choice. So it's alright if you skip it. Just enjoy the ride of seeing the Taj and come home with a happy heart.
P.S- So after getting married, this was the first time we actually visited the place, but no, i really do not want a Taj Mahal on my name. I think my books will keep me alive for a long long time.
|That awkward moment when you are supposed to look into each other's eyes and everyone's staring|