I never imagined I would have the opportunity to visit one of the architectural wonders of the world, Taj Mahal, but since the city in which it resides, Agra, was on our train path from Varanasi to New Delhi, we thought it would silly not to take the day and explore this city. The city has a few interesting landmarks besides the great Taj Mahal, including Agra Fort, and the Baby Taj. Take a peek at the pictures.
The train ride from Varanasi to Agra was a long one. I believe in total it was 14 hours. It was an overnight trip so we tried to get some sleep. We opted for the air conditioned car as it's a bit safer, but we still ended up locking all of our belongings like a stereotypical paranoid traveller. I think I even locked my shoes to the rack, heh. When we got closer to Agra, the sun was starting to come up. This made for some beautiful pictures along the train tracks. There were quite a few interesting sights as well, as people were scattered along the train tracks in their villages, all going through their morning routine of #1 and #2 right out in the open. Not for the weak stomach ;)
As with previous posts, Sejin has written up a few words about her experiences.
We were on a train from Varanasi to Agra. The train was full of people from all over India and whenever the train stops young and old, men and women would jump up to the train to sell food, chai tea, and souvenirs.
I'm not sitting on a toilet... Although, it doesn't look that different. India's trains have toilets where you can see the train tracks under your bum.
This is how free you are when the train stops. Curious Indian people were hanging out the door or even jumping off the train. They can even find a mother nature bathroom before the train leaves.
My first sight of the Taj Mahal was this, while crossing the Yamuna River on the last few minutes of the train ride to Agra. As you can see, there was a bit of flooding in this river at the time, with the monsoon season coming to an end.
Sejin had already visited Agra and Taj Mahal previously, so for her this was 'just another day in India'. For me though, seeing these incredible structures so close and in person, wow. I'm at a loss for words now, as I was then. The precise detail and the microscopic level of this structure was breathtaking.
Taj Mahal is the most famous example of Muslim architecture. It was built by Shah Jahan, an emperor to commemorate his third wife who died while giving birth to his fourteenth child. I learned that Muslim men can marry as many women as they wish but they have to treat them all same. If he had built three Taj Mahals, it would have been fair to the other wives. I guess he didn't have enough money for the down payment.
For Indian people the entrance fee was 2 rupees but for foreigners it was 540 rupees. Does this mean foreigners have more eyes than Indians?
Sejin always makes me laugh...
The sunset reflects the Taj Mahal.
Thanks for taking the time to look through these pictures. As always, if you would like to see the other photos from this trip, please see the album posted on Facebook. Take care for now!Sub