Next day we decided to go to the Taj Mahal at 9:30, we thought it wasn’t necessary to go during the sunrise and also read you can´t actually see much. Walked around 150m from our hotel (Radisson Blu, excellent choice), bought the tickets for 750 INR each (includes shoe cover and 1 bottle of water) then took an internal bus to the Taj Mahal.
Selfie sticks and cameras are allowed except inside the mausoleum (though everybody was taking pictures inside). Tripods are not allowed inside the whole Taj Mahal. Since our hotel was from a walking distance to the temple, we only took our cameras, cellphones and 1 small bag to carry money for the 8 of us, other wise it will take you some time to go trough all the metal detectors. WiFi is available inside but we didn’t even think about using it here.
It opens at sunrise and close at 19:00. Closed on Fridays.
We read that the queue to get the tickets is always very long but amazingly there wasn’t any queue at all and we didn’t lose any time at the check point.
While taking pictures in the Taj Mahal, a lot of people (Indians) came to us asking for pictures with them, even entire families. It was crazy, even more than in China. At the end we were even joking with them and saying they will have to pay 100 rupees per picture.
The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, for reasons more than just looking magnificent. It’s the history of Taj Mahal that adds a soul to its magnificence: a soul that is filled with love, loss, remorse, and love again. Because if it was not for love, the world would have been robbed of a fine example upon which people base their relationships. An example of how deeply a man loved his wife, that even after she remained but a memory, he made sure that this memory would never fade away. This man was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who was head-over-heels in love with Mumtaz Mahal, his dear wife. She was a Muslim Persian princess (her name Arjumand Banu Begum before marriage) and he was the son of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and grandson of Akbar the Great. It was at the age of 14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in love with her. Five years later in the year 1612, they got married.
Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child. It was in the memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan built the “Taj Mahal”. The construction of it started in the year 1631. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligrapher, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran, and it took approximately 22 years to build what we see today. An epitome of love, it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia. After an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees, Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653.
It was soon after the completion of Taj Mahal that Shah Jahan was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb and was put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Shah Jahan, himself also, lies entombed in this mausoleum along with his wife.
Read more at: http://www.tajmahal.org.uk
We stayed there till midday, and went back to our hotel since of course, we didn’t scape the traveller sickness. We asked for a late check out (16:00) and the hotel kindly agreed.
Lunch was at Kesar Restaurant in Agra. It was perfect cause beside having indian and chinese options they also have sandwich and pasta, perfect for the sick ones.
We left the city around 16:30 to go to the train station, expecting some traffic, but no, we arrived at 17:15. Our train to Varanasi was at 20:40, and luckily and rarely it was on time.
The station is a little chaotic. Not very well indicated in english, lots of flies and bad odor. Lucky all the guys at the reservation desk helped us find our seats numbers and the waiting hall. Don’t expect anything from the first class waiting hall, it’s a room with 2 fans, few plugs, lots of mosquitos and some rat visits, forget about wi-fi. Outside lots of birds, music out loud, rats on the rails, flies, etc.
40 minutes before the scheduled departure we went to our platform and there were some guys with red shirts that will come to you to help you, indicate your wagon train, of course they will ask for tips. After we were in our rooms we gave him 200 INR, because he helped us after being kind of lost.
At least we were happy the train was on time, the beds looked clean, bathroom were cleans (latrine and western style).
In our way to Varanasi, we had 3 cabins, only 1 of those was shared with two locals guys. Let´s say it will be a lot better and safer if you booked a cabin just for you and your group.
What did we miss in Agra?
- Agra Fort
- Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
- Jama Masjid (Mosque)
- Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj Mahal)
…among others, but we needed a quiet afternoon in our rooms.
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