I tried to think of some witty title for this post, but really, I can’t think of anyway to encompass the enormity of the Taj Mahal in words.
After a horrendous night on the sleeper train (a very, very long story involving the tour company not securing enough tickets for everyone on the tour to get a bed on the train…), everyone was desperate to shower, eat, and probably nap by the time we arrived in Agra. However shortly after arriving our tour guide shipped us off to Agra Fort. Once again, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was totally worth the visit.
Just visiting some locals.
Our tour guide organised a local guide for us, who showed us through the maze of buildings. It was absolutely worth having a guide, as there were no signs within the fort explaining the history of the place.
The fort additionally provided us with our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal, however due to the wonderful smog that constantly clouds India it was impossible to photograph.
The fort included some beautiful rooms decorated with marble and semi-precious stones. I enjoyed the story our guide told us about the empty pool in the above room. When filled with water, the pool allegedly looked exactly like a rug, which would play as an optical illusion for the entertainment of the kind when he invited unsuspecting guests over!
As we were preparing to leave the fort, a member of our group had a chipmunk placed on him by a couple of local men. I, of course, proceeded to lose my mind. This attracted the attention of the men, who quickly coaxed the chipmunk into my hand.
HAVE YOU EVER.
Once I returned the chipmunk the men asked for money, which I obliged to as I began to feel sorry for the poor, exploited animal. Still, it was kind of totally worth it…
After lunch and (blissfully) checking into our rooms and showering, it was off to the Taj Mahal! The above photo was the entrance gate to the gardens in front of the Taj Mahal, featuring an unimpressed Chris fulfilling my demands.
Our new guide told us this was the perfect spot to take a photo, in order to ‘frame’ the Taj Mahal. Which it would have been, if 100 other people weren’t also trying to take the same photo!
Despite seeing the Taj Mahal in millions of photos online, in books, and the like, nothing quite prepares you for seeing the behemoth in person. It’s perfect symmetry and design makes it amazing to look it, both from a distance and up close. One can also enter the building, but I found it to be very cramped and dark, as the hundreds of sightseers are forced to quickly make a circle around the inner tombs and make their way out again.
How many photos is one meant to take at the Taj?!?
After several attempts we even managed a ‘nice’ couple photo, as elusive as they are.
We were so lucky to have a clear day, by Indian standards anyway, as Chris had seen in the news before we left Australia that the smog had been horrible in recent weeks, shrouding the Taj Mahal and other monuments. Not that my terrible photography even comes close to representing the true magnificence of the building!