People come from far off places to visit this city; to have a look at the magnificent monument that has secured itself a place in the most famous of the lists like the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD and UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Still, it took us a while before we finally planned a trip to the city of Taj – Agra.
We took the Delhi Bhopal Shatabadi at 6 in the morning and reached Agra by 8 – 8.15. Our hotel was a nice and a decent place to stay though we had to wait for a while before our rooms got ready after the earlier guests left just a little while ago. We quickly got ready to start our trip to the Taj Mahal. Though initially, we planned to visit the Taj the next day and spend the first day exploring Fatehpur Sikri and other monuments of Agra, yet we decided otherwise since the Taj remains closed on Fridays.
Taj Mahal is beautiful – as has been said umpteen number of times. There were groups who had also come down to see the Taj yet there was not so much rush. We roamed around the Taj complex leisurely and even sat at the marble floor in the backside where a number of other people were also relaxing. The floor was cool even under bright sunlight! Lots of people were getting there pics clicked and we were no exception. What was interesting though was the kind of poses they were giving.. really sweet at times and funny at other.
Post our exploration to the Taj Mahal, we had our lunch at the restaurant in the complex. We also had our breakfast here which was good though I must say that the lunch was pathetic. I will not advise anyone to have his/her lunch there. The look and taste of Shahi Paneer was totally unique, nothing of the sort of the dish I had eaten before. So we only had chapatis and pulses….just finished off somehow.
We moved to the Agra Fort next. The first thing I noticed there was the not so good condition of the fort. Though the exteriors were good, within the fort, paintings and carvings were in bad shape. Our guide, though, insisted that the Britishers were responsible for the destruction of much of the embellishment. The fort doesn’t take much time to explore as we quickly visited the Jahan Ara Palki palace, Roshan Ara Palki Palace, Deewan-e-khas, the palace where Shah Jahan was imprisoned in his last days, the cell where Maratha warrior Shivaji was imprisoned and Kasturi – the platform that reveals the true quality of gold when the latter is rubbed on it.
We returned to our hotel with satisfaction that though we did not cover other attractions in the day, yet we spent quality time at each of the two places. It was not a hurried visit and that is how it should be while you are visiting places for the first time.
But the best was yet to come. When we came down for dinner in our hotel, it was bit awkward. We were the only Indian family staying in the hotel and hence the entire dining hall was filled with foreigners. Barring the hotel staff and our family, there was no other Indian there. It almost made me feel like a foreigner in my own homeland…. …….