“City of Taj”.
Where is Agra?
The city of Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Our journey from New Delhi to Agra was on the train.
Whilst in Agra we chose to stay at the Safarnama Agra booked through Booking.com.
Our room was on the top floor with an interconnecting door to the next room we could hear the people in the next room. A large spacious room with a large bathroom. Tea and coffee making facilities were in the room. There is a cosy lounge on the first floor and the staff was extremely helpful throughout our stay.
Places of interest
The following morning it was off to one of the most famous buildings in the world, The Taj Mahal. Walking through the backstreets of Agra, we took the scenic route, away from the tourists, allowing us to see the real India.
Word travelled fast that we were wandering through the streets. Children were leaning over the balconies to say hello. Whichever street we turned up, there were happy smiling people greeting us.
A rabbit warren of shops, workshops, and houses. Dogs, pigs, horses, goats, donkeys, chickens, and cows, all just wandering around. Non-existent health and safety in the woodworking, metal cutting, welding, and scrap workshops. Most of the men working in them wearing no footwear or just flip flops.
So many smells and sounds, our senses were in overdrive. Spices, rubbish, cow pats, and cholera running through the open drains. Just some of the contributors.
Children following us, chattering away in English, very good English at that, all trying to ask us questions at the same time.
Eventually, we left and arrived at the East Gate of one of the new 7 wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal. It isn’t possible to see the Taj Mahal from outside of the walls. The suspense building as we got closer to getting the first glimpse.
Then, through the entrance to the gardens, is that first sight. A mesmerising white marble mausoleum of Mughal king Shah Jahan’s favourite wife. Set on a raised marble platform. It’s back towards the Yamuna River.
The four sides of the Taj Mahal have a perfect symmetry. Featuring impressive vaulted arches. Beneath the main dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. One of India’s most beautiful monuments. The white marble shines in the sun.
The walk leading up to the Taj Mahal is through perfectly manicured landscaped gardens. Picturesque water features making the whole thing a wonderful sight, despite the smog.
Entry to the complex costs tourists 1300 Rupees each. Included in the price was a free bottle of water and shoe covers.
The Red Fort
A monumental red-sandstone fort located on the banks of the River Yamuna. About 2.5 km northwest of the Taj Mahal. The fort has 22m high defensive walls and was more a walled city. Inside the walls were five hundred buildings.
Most of them were destroyed by British troops to make way for barracks. The Indian military is using the northern part of the fort. Therefore, the Delhi Gate cannot be used by the public. Tourists enter via the Amar Singh Gate. Entry to the Fort is 650 Rupees per person and a lot of it isn’t open to the public.
Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river. This mausoleum, referred to as “Baby Taj”, is set in large crucifix shaped gardens. Considered a precursor of the Taj Maha,l it is also built completely of white marble