A Dream Come True……The Taj Mahal….
We left A very hot and dusty Varanasi early to get to Allahbad which was about half way to Agra..
It turned out to be quite a good road, not like the bomb crater highway we rode on to get to Varanasi…
So really we could have made it to Agra easy in one day, but we had booked and paid for a hotel so we stopped early in the day and went and explored the small town of Allabad, which didn’t have much to offer, being the adventurers we are we had another McMahjara burger from Macdonalds!
The hotel was a bit run down despite only being a couple of years old…seeing the kitchen and decided not to eat there….
The wifi was pretty fast wifi, so that was a plus (the only one!)
We had a hilarious moment in the morning when we tried to leave early and needed to pay for our drinks that we had the previous day (they wouldn’t let us pay the night before) it was a completely bambozzling style, like only the Indians can do…they left themselves and us totally confused…lol
The ride to Agra was quite fast despite nearly getting swiped by a big truck who suddlenly changed lanes….
We also got hit by a bike that took off one of our panniers but luckily no damage.
We hit the middle of Agra in the middle of the day at some roadworks where we were stuck for about twenty minutes. Then the GPS decieded to take us to the wrong address for our guest house…the people’s house it took us too were great, made us tea and biscuits the guy also phoned his brother who then took us to the right address.
We settled in and went to see the Tomb of ITIMAD-UD-DAULAH (1622-28 AD) or has everyone calls it here the Baby Taj, and it often described as a ‘Jewel Box’.
It was a great place with beautiful gardens, but there was a storm brewing and within minutes a fierce dust storm blew up, getting ‘sand stung’ we had to take shelter.
In a bit of a lull in the dust storm, we ran to our waiting taxi who then in our agreed price took us to a vantage point to watch the sunset over the real Taj Mahal, so disappointing another dust storm blew up lol…
We went back to our guest house and had a great home cooked panneer curry served with naan bread great conservation with the host,who gave us some great advise on Agra and what to see.
With our new information we set of for the Taj, avoiding all the touts that hang around the entrance.
With the price of the ticket they throw in a bottle of water! We got there reasonably early and the crowds were not too bad. The place is truly amazing and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the wonders of the world.
The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”
In 1631, Shah Jahan, was so grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum.
He set about building Construction of the Taj Mahal in 1632, the principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later, it doesn’t matter what we write and how many pictures we post, they can not do this magical place justice…SEE IT FOR YOURSELF, it’s the only way to appreciate it.
We had to put these over our shoes to protect the polished marble floors…
The marble relief was amazing, carved out of solid piece of marble and precious gems inserted that covered the whole building…
We walked around the grounds a couple of times soaking up this amazing place and having to pinch our self’s that we’re really here.
We were constantly asked by the friendly Indians if they could have there photo taken with us. Chris was told how pretty she was and I was told, uncle your so sweet…..
It was now midday and very hot so back we went back to the guest house for a respite from the heat.
I put my SPOT GPS on a ledge to send a GPS signal to our family and friends, so they knew where we were, when I went back to retrieve it, it had gone….. earlier we did spot some monkeys and when I told the host he went looking for the spot, it was in his neighbours garden!… The monkeys obviously lost interest in it, when they realised you couldn’t eat it and dropped it…lucky ….
Late that afternoon we went to the Red Fort which derives its name from the extensive use of red sandstone on the massive walls that surround the fort.
Shah Jahan commissioned the construction of the Red Fort in 1638 when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi and is where Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in the Fort, one of the many reasons was he wasted money.
Emperor Shah Jahan had a view from his window of the Taj which he erected for his deceased wife and is said to have gazed at the Taj all the time…
The place was enormous and impregnable fort…
Some of it is still used by the Indian army today. It a great piece of Mughal architecture .
That evening we went again to have a look at the sunseting over the Taj, but again it was another fizzer….
Early next morning we made plans to go and see the sunrise over the Taj, that again was another fizzer…lol…
We spent the rest of the day at the guest house chilling out, reading , watched a movie and making plans for our next destination Jaipur……