You might not know the city by its name but it holds one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Like many tourists in India, a visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal is a required stop and this is where we are off to next.
In the evening of our first day in Agra, we find a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Taj Mahal. We have never seen so many tourists in India as we did when looking out at the Taj. It is nice just to enjoy the sunset over the Taj with the small company of other travelers.
The next morning, it is an early day for us, as we want to avoid the long lines. We learn the hard way that the ticket office is not actually near the entrance gate. When we are finally inside, our first reaction is how much bigger the Taj Mahal is in person.
It is a very photogenic building, which we learn is actually a mausoleum built by an emperor for his late wife. Their love story is as famous as the structure.
Khurram was a Mughal prince who knew he wanted to marry Arjumand Banu Begum, a Persian princess, the first time he met her. They had to wait five years and despite becoming his third wife, they were madly in love. When Khurram became emperor Shah Jahan, he gave her the title of Mumtaz Mahal, which translates to the chosen one of the palace. She was more than a wife, she was a constant companion and trusted adviser as she traveled with him all over the empire. She died while giving birth to their fourteenth child! He was heartbroken and ordered his court to go in mourning for two years. He dedicated this memorial to the love of his life, which he seeked to completion before getting ill.
When we get on the actual compound, we have to put covers on our feet to keep the place looking clean. We circle the building, walk inside, and forty-five minutes later, we are done.
Boris really enjoyed the Taj or should I say photographing it.
Feeling incomplete, I request for something away from Agra, 26 miles to be exact. Look out for our next post on Fatehpur, filled with wonderful pictures of people and architecture.
|What We Paid:||INR||USD||Euro|
|– Train 2nd class SEAT from Jaipur to Agra without AC [not recommended unless on extreme tight budget and for short rides during daytime only]||195/pp||4.30||3.05|
|– Private double room at Tourist Rest House [nice common space but very basic rooms, we had a rat run inside our room, no hot water for one day because they did not turn it on, staff is not friendly but the manager addressed our complaints, there are much better hotels than this]||500/double||11||7.85|
|– Dasaprakash Vegetarian restaurant [super clean, somewhat fancy, delicious food, recommend]||190/pp||4.20||2.98|
|– Lakshmi Vilas restaurant [very delicious, clean, friendly staff, highly recommend]||110/pp||2.43||1.73|
|– Bicycle rickshaw to Taj Mahal [20 minutes]||30/ride||0.66||0.47|
|– Auto Rickshaw from the train station [10 minutes]||30/ride||0.66||0.47|
|– Entrance to the Taj Mahal||750/pp||16.55||11.76|
|– Latte at Café Coffee Day||65||1.43||1.02|