Taj Mahal, Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 days - October 2018
Off to Agra now! And our first experience with Indian trains. We arrived at the station to discover thousands of Indians sleeping/waiting on the floor waiting for their train. Busy busy station.
The train left exactly on time and arrived 5 minutes in advance. Who said Indian trains were always late ?
We arrived to Agra and met some fellow French travellers Chloe & Brice who travels the world as well!
We had a nice dinner with them eating naans, paneer Masala (some cheese in a creamy spicy tomato sauce) and rice. Yummy!
The day after we woke up at 4.30am to discover one of the new 7 wonders in the World: the Taj Mahal !
Third in line, we are waiting for the sunrise for the gates to open. We got in and run towards the first gate and got a glimpse of its immensity through a gate. Its massive, symmetric, the dome is huge, all in ivory marble it’s beautiful! We couldn’t stop saying: we are at the Taj Mahal, can you believe it ?
We took thousands of pictures of course ;) (thanks to Chloé and Brice for the couple shots :) )
We then got in to see the mausoleum because the Taj Mahal was built to house the tomb of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife (most of the emperors had 3 official wives and many mistresses ) who died after giving birth to their 14th child! How romantic is that ? (Despite his past in civil engineering, the only thing Cédric built for me was this website haha ! Note from Cédric: that’s not true I also built an arch for our wedding but it collapsed after a few minutes during the ceremony! )
Finally we walked around during long minutes to look at the impressive symmetry, the details, the gardens, the atmosphere, the arabesque, the colours changing due to to sunrise, the precious stones on the marble, the marble, the flooring. AMAZING!
With our new friends we then took a tuktuk (and Cedric drove for 30 seconds!) to go to the Red Fort which took its name after the sandstone used. The red fort was built before the Taj Mahal by the same family and the guy who commissioned the Taj Mahal was imprisoned in the fort when his son took over the power.
Abdul, an Indian speaking a perfect French convinced us to take a tour with him and what a good idea! He was funny, we learnt so much about the fort, the Taj Mahal, Indian culture and so on. He even did a genealogy tree to help us figure out who is who (again the emperor had 3 principal wives , one Hindu, one Muslim and one Christian and 400 concubines that he kept in his palace!)
Fun fact: they had an echo system in the palace. Go in one corner, speak and the one at the other corner will hear like you’re on the phone !
Nice fort, nice visit! Time to head back to work in the afternoon. Unfortunately we experienced something we haven’t planned: power cut for the entire afternoon! So forced nap ;)
The day after we took a tuktuk with our new friends to go 40 kilometres out of Agra to visit Fatehpur Sikri. 40 kilometres in a tuktuk= loooonng ride in between the cows, crazy traffic, waste on the roads, goats, bumpy roads ... we were glad to arrive !
Fatehpur Sikri used to be the previous Moghol capital city (each emperor wanting to build a new capital city) and its buildings are still intact. The door to enter the Mosque is just huge ! 40 metres high!
The main square of the Mosque is full of people coming to visit, pray and look for benedictions. We got in the prayer room and discovered people offering flowers and money in exchange being brushed off with a broom. Interesting.
The visit of the fort was interesting with again, red sandstones walls, many rooms and palaces and this time gardens. La folie des grandeurs !
End of a great stay in Agra. The Taj Mahal is a must-do ! We still can’t believe we saw it !
# arrive early ! We were third in the line arriving at 5.30am. It was worth it as when we left -around 10am- there was people everywhere and they were fighting to take pictures.
# 1,100 IR per person for the Taj Mahal
# 550 IR per person for the red fort, Guide: 600 IR for 4 people.
# tuktuk for the day to go to Fatehpur Sikri: 1,250 for 4 people
# we stayed at Moustache Agra for 12 euros a night. It’s quite good for the price! Be in case of a power cut they are the only ones of the street not having a generator ;)
# we had dinner at Pinch of Spice in Agra, delicious!