Sunday, 2 December 2012


We left Jaipur really late at night (after napping for a few hours in the evening), our train was at 2am and arrived at Agra 6am.  It was definitely one of the worst trains,  as we didn't have much time to sleep and the other people spent the whole time listening to loud music on their phones.

Agra is not a nice city, its polluted, noisy, busy and has open sewers everywhere, the only saving grace is that the Taj Mahal is there. We got into the hostel and had to wait about 5 hours to get into our room.  The reason we chose this hostel was you could see the Taj Mahal  from the roof terrace  but the Taj was so covered in mist and fog we could barely see the outline.  Our hostel was awful  it was the smallest room we have stayed in and covered in mold (by the time we left all our clothes were and smelt of damp).  

 We had hoped to go and see the Taj the day we arrived but unfortunately we arrived on a Friday which is the only day it is closed!  Luckily I had my guide book and it explained that there is a big pubic garden behind the Taj where you could see the Taj Mahal for alot less money called Mehtab bagh .  We decided to get there at sunset, and then relaxed for most of the day.

We got a rickshaw over and just managed to make it over before they stopped allowing people in.  We walked through a tree lined path and then there it was, the icon of India - The Taj Mahal.

It is one of those places where you think "is the hype real?" As so many people say how amazing it is, but it really is breath taking when you see it in real life. We weren't sure how it would look from behind but it actually looks exactly the same as the front.  The best bit was that because it was a Friday and the Taj was closed we got pictures of it with NO tourists in it, which is unbelievable, even the park wasn't crowded!
We spent ages photographing and just looking at it in all its splendor.  It changed colour in the different lights, which is suppose to represent Allah (as it is a Muslim building and has a mosque on each side too).
We then went back and went to bed early for the main event of the next day, which was getting up at 5am and going to the Taj Mahal at sun rise.

It was a freezing cold day and we had to line up for an hour at the West side, we were then scanned and frisked before being allowed to enter the bit before the Taj Mahal, you walk along and there is a arched entrance way and then you see the image you have seen on every poster, advert, and film about India, the Taj Mahal.  We got there early enough that it wasn't too crowded   We again photographed it to within and inch of its life and looked in awe at it, and then went inside it. 

You realize as you get closer to it that the Taj Mahal does look best from abit of the distance.  It does have beautiful craftsmanship up close but it sort of loses it grandeur.  Once you get inside though it is really beautiful.  It is delicately carved with flowers with semi precious stones set into the marble.  The marble itself is white, smooth and cold, and defiantly gives a sense of purity.  As you get to the main hall, you see the reason it was all built - the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.  The emperor Shah Jahal was so in love with his wife that when she passed away in child birth he built her the Taj Mahal to house her tomb, and when he passed away his tomb was placed beside hers,which is the only thing that is not perfectly symmetrical in the whole building.

I really did find the Taj Mahal wonderful and quite moving, its a beautiful embodiment of romantic love.  

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