08/04/2017 – Agra.
We woke up dreading the 4 hour journey to the mogul emporium city. 33 degrees Celsius. A bus ride at 80km/h. 216 km from Delhi.
But to our great astonishment it wasn’t that bad. The AC provided a cool breeze and we blissfully slept for most of the journey.
When we got to the ticket counters, it was packed. Indians were lined up by the dozens under the hot sun. Preference was given to foreigners who pay a rate of 1000 INR allowing us to cut lines. Indians pay 40 INR.
You walk through a place called the Taj Mahal Garden. It includes a hostel where people used to stay before and beautiful lawns.
The entrance to the Taj Mahal is aesthetic. It’s absolutely natural using sandstone and precious gems to give it colour. The amazing thing about the entrance is the writing in it. It has verses from the Qur’aan engraved on it. This entrance had Surah Fajr engraved.
Once you walk through the entrance, it creates a frame for the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is beautiful. The white marble took my breath away. The geometric patterns were mind blowing. The Qur’aanic verses were goose bump inducing.
Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a gesture of love to his wife, Mumtaz. The couple are buried next to each other in the Taj Mahal. 100 000 people visit the Taj Mahal every day to see the evidence of one man’s love for his wife.
After the Taj Mahal, we went to the Red Fort. The Red Fort had many, different dwellers as it served as a palace. Akbar, Shah Jahan’s grandfather rebuilt the Red Fort using sandstone.
This area was used for entertaining and had a place for each of Akbar’s four wives. One can only imagine the kind of festivities that might have been held here. The clothes, the food, the music.
Later, Shah Jahan broke down a part of the Fort and rebuilt it using marble.
Shah Jahan spent the last few years of his life in his section of the fort imprisoned by his son. Shah Jahan’s section overlooked the Taj Mahal where he could see the final resting place of his beloved wife.
Agra has been my favourite place so far and I loved every moment of exploring the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
Step count: 9 716 steps.