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Travel Story: North India Edition: AGRA

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sorry to whoever that have read this blog but frustrated by the lack of long continuity, now im starting again after a very long break, just let me get this one startedwhen the SpiceJet Boeing 737 plane landed in New Delhi, im having an excitement in my belly, but a lot is waiting for me as a suprise,  my planned was to get a taxi, quite a long distance and with baggage so i prefer taxi rather than auto-rickshaw, *guide* please dont take autorickshaw in the middle of the night, in addition to not safe and inconvenience, they will hit your pocket hard!, if you read my last post on this section, same goes with auto, you will be better off taking the taxi by paying it first in the prepaid booth taxi counter available in airport, bus station, taxi station and other public places, follow my advice if you dont want to pay more than you deserve!

After about 45 minutes, i then arrived at New Delhi train station, i dont quite remember which station since in new delhi there is the “new delhi station” and another one “old delhi station”. but whatever it is, we planned not to stay in any hotel or dormitory since our train only 5-6 hours away. but this one catch me as the first suprise, i have stayed overnight in train station before when i was travelling in south india, but things slightly different now, mainly due to the temperature, it is FREAKINGLY COLD!! i think it is 15 degrees celcius and we were sleeping on the couch and on the floor covered with our own old newspaper, (mind you, we are backpackers! tight budget!), i was having trouble sleeping with my other 2 friend were already shivering all over their body.

our train finally arrived at 5.30am in the morning. another suprise came along, as many train i have ride before this in india, it is the first time i came across such a good one, turns out to be an express exclusive train, the seats were big and spacious and leg compartment was roomy, we were served much better than domestic malaysian airlines in-flight services! after close to 2 hour journey (by other means even other than this express train, it would take nearly 4 hours) we arrive in a fresh body and mind to get started with our plan for that day.

Visiting Agra is nothing but Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, this is the only two place that you MUST go! and i wouldnt recommend you to spend further time here, and please please dont stay here overnight okay! (hotel is expensive here, and this city sucks except that it has one of the 7 wonders of the world) 

and they say. The Wonders of the World. The Magnificent Taj Mahal. The Story of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal and his son, Aurangzeb. simply put, Shah Jahan loves his second wife so much he built her a mausoleum so freakingly expensive, and then upon completion, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb after the son killed all the other siblings to grab throne, when in prison in Agra Fort, Shah Jahan could only see the Taj Mahal from his balcony of the prison, i’ll show you the pic of the Shah Jahan prison. For futher story, google it ok! 

When we were about to enter, we went to the ticket counter, and i answered we are foreigners, and were charged 750 rupees equivalent to rm70. what the ……., for your info, i have this indian mind set whereby above 500 rupees (rm50) considered super expensive. so i got mad. but i get myself calm and happy coz it will be worth it to see the taj in real life. for local indian (including anyone who can speaks hindi well, you can pretend you are local indian) will be charged only 20 rupees, a mere less than rm2.

There will be a lot of hawkers and sellers, want to sell their stuff and rickshaw want to lend them their good service, and people saying, “buy this original marble made taj mahal replica” but i would advice you, dont ever ever buy anything here, make your way directly to the counter, proceed to the gate, go straight into the main area of taj mahal and enjoy the beauty! 

Going inside the main area, you will walk a long distance of about two long ponds and the view is very exquisite, spend as much time here as possible, some in the balcony of the taj, and little time only inside the taj mahal proper itself (nothing is inside, and you are not allowed to take any picture of the tomb).  

going into the Taj Mahal, you will be ask to remove your shoes and carry it along or use the shoe cover given at the entrance, dont leave your shoes for the thieves ok!, take pictures as much as you want going around the taj, and go to the back of the taj looking at the river behind it.

Across the river, lies the foundation of the “The Black Taj”, nice name right? It was started just before Shah Jahan imprisoned, designed to be more than 1/2 the size of The Taj Mahal but using black marble which is a rarity with much rarer diamonds using the mind and hands of a well renowned architect and engineer at that time, much better than the one that built the Taj Mahal, it is said if it is fully completed, it would be the most exquisite, enchanting, superbly beautiful piece of monument. Some say, it would be A Masterpiece of Art. It was intended for his own Mausoleum (Shah Jahan). You can see the plan and layout of “the black taj” in the museum besides the Taj Mahal.

If you look closely at the wall of the Taj Mahal and you will see the intrinsic design of regularly repeated pattern, the coloured marble were actually coloured diamonds that were used during construction but were removed little by little by the ruling government since the time of Aurangzeb.Enough about Taj Mahal, it is simply out of the world, you have to see it to believe it.

 Now we go to  Agra Fort, you can take autorickshaw to go there, which would be cheaper if you dont afraid to bargain and be confident about it, you will get your price, believe me! when you reach there just pretend and speak hindi a little you will get cheaper local indian price. learn the language and use it.

it is too much to tell about Agra Fort, and it is simply amazing, so much story i narrowed it down. It is used as a military fort in addition to palace in the time of father of Shah Jahan (jehangir? i dont quite remember), so you can see parliamentary hall, people’s hall, where people can speaks about their problem among others. and therein lies the prison of Shah Jahan.

you can see through this picture his prison have that balcony which will directly view him of the Taj Mahal he built himself while he is now prison. “A dedication of love at a cost of self-freedom” or you can say “The price that a ruler must pay for wasting the civilian’s money”.

with this i finish this segment and should enquiry is needed, you can email me at abduljabbarismail@gmail.com 

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  1. Very well written article on Agra. It is very informative. Every one should go to Agra at least once, irrespective of where ever they live. Having said that, I have not done so myself yet but I will be visiting Agra next month, on my way to Banda, Uttar Pradesh where some of my family members live.

    Yadu Singh/Sydney/Australia

    Yadu Singh

    November 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

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