Agra is known for its marvelous Taj Mahal and it would be such a shame to be in Agra and miss it! So, for our second day in this incredible country, at 6:30 AM sharp, we dragged our tired bods to Taj Mahal! We were brought to the ticket office where we had a complimentary bottle of water and shoe cover. From there we rode a shuttle (vehicles weren’t allowed at a certain point) and then walked to the gate, and another kilometer to skip the long queue on the other gate. We passed by a small neighborhood that looks pretty much like a province in the Philippines. Lo and behold, another long line of visitors, but not as long as the other one.
At 7:30-ish we finally got inside. So much for wanting to see the Taj at sunrise, tsk. After a few more walks, voila! The Taj Mahal on its grandeur. As I went closer to the marvelous mausoleum, sadly, I found Qutb Minar more overwhelming than the Taj. Plus, the thick fog made the white marble structure look unclear.
Here I learnt that it’s not only Mumtaz’ tomb was here, but also the king’s other wives. And it’s pretty obvious how the king loves Mumtaz among them as the others’ tombs were just plain.
After the tour of the complex, we went back to the hotel for breakfast. Then, we stopped by a marble factory where we saw how the artisans of Taj Mahal did the detailing of its walls.
Agra Fort was the next stop. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site that I’m gonna be crossing out on the list! The fort was built with red sandstone.
This is where Shah Jahan, the emperor behind the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his own son. Here, he only had a view of his wife’s tomb which is 2.5 kilometers away.
At present, a part of the Red Fort is occupied by the military, thus, not all parts of the site are accessible to the public.
We then drove to Fatehpur Sikri, our last stop in Agra. It’s a multi-level palace. Our tour guide’s stories suggested that Fatehpur Sikri looked very beautiful before. Well, the remains still suggests the same. It looks a bit scary though especially on the dark areas of the palace. Plus the weird sounds echoing adds creepiness too.
After the short but sweet tour, we embarked on another looooong drive, this time though, to Jaipur. Elephants, wild boars, cows, plus all modes of transportation, locals wearing colorful sarees and kurtas, walls and buildings on shades of pink–oh what a brilliant scene on the streets!