The Taj Mahal

Leaving Chanderi by train we arrived into Agra – the home of the Taj Mahal!

The train journey had been a bit sad because it was our last one as a whole group. The group would split and some lucky people would go to Rajasthan and others would need to take the train back to Delhi and then fly home. I’m in the latter camp. However spirits were lifted when we started talking to an elderly couple sharing our carriage. They asked us unmarried girls if our fathers were desperately trying to get us married off. No was the resounding answer. I was asked, as everyone else has the ability to sleep on the train, not me, what my purpose was in life… 26 year old on a career break travelling, surely that is the exact opposite of knowing what your purpose is. I tried to say to be a good person, but that didn’t count. I tried to say that through my job as a Community Worker I feel I am supporting people, that didn’t count either. Clutching at straws I said to be a mother one day, phew, that was accepted.

As we arrived in Agra we were back to the hustle, bustle and badgering, which was a shock to the system after lovely Chanderi. Driving through the streets of Agra desperately trying to stare out of the window, through the mountain of luggage, to see if I could see the famous Taj Mahal… no such luck. Getting into our hotel I was told that from the roof you could see the Taj. It was dark by the time I got up and it’s not lit up, so it can’t be bombed, such a horrible world that magnificent monuments have to be kept like black- out times of WW11.

Next morning, Taj day, getting up at 5am to leave at 5.15am to see the Taj as soon as it opened and at sunrise. We got in a bus for about 2 minutes, then got into an electric mini bus again for about 2 mintues and then we joined the queue.

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I was impatient, I felt so close but so far  the muckle great walls stopped me from seeing anything. Eventually we got through security and I actually squealed when I caught my first glimpse of the TAJ MAHAL!

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The magical, wonderful thing about the Taj Mahal is that it’s no way, shape or form a let down, when you see it in person. You’ve seen hundreds of pictures of it, but it’s truly amazing. So beautiful and you can’t stop looking at it. It’s surreal that I was actually there.

I did the Princes Diana thing of sitting on the bench but it wasn’t a brilliant experience. I felt really self- conscious as loads of people queueing and waiting to have their turn and I just look a bit uncomfortable and awkward in my picture. However I am so proud of this picture, I don’t care too much about the rest.

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At least I have one, that I took and I am happy with.

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Some of my new friends .

After wandering around driving back to the hotel in the electric minibus golf buggy I got another great view on the Taj. (I think so anyway)

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After breakfast we went to the Agra Fort by cycle rickshaw- not that much fun. Very chatty ‘drivers’ but very pushy about tips and didn’t like what we did tip, thinking we should have given 500 rupees. I missed Chanderi.

The guide in The Agra Fort was excellent, but unfortunatley it was so hot that day and I wasn’t feeling very well that I just tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. The Fort was really big but it’s hard to get a good picture of it. It has really beautiful Jain butresses.

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Also the lovely red colour of the Fort.

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Plus the added bonus of views of the Taj

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After our visit to the Fort some of us went to watch the sunset over the Taj from the opposite bank of the river. I was really happy that my Golden Girls were with me.

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