A desi Tourist Goes To Taj Mahal Agra
Every time I will ask her where should we go, she will say “Let us go to Taj Mahal in Agra”, and every time I will reply, “But we have both been there so many times”. This time she snapped back
“YES WE HAVE BOTH BEEN THERE, YOU WITH YOUR STUPID CLIENTS AND I WITH MY COUSINS, MASSEE Jee, CHACHI JEE AND MUMMY JEE AND PAPA JEE. Has it ever occurred to you that I want to see THE TAJ MAHAL with you, MY HUSBAND and with my kids?”
Now normally Wife jee is a very sweet and soft-spoken kind of person, (She is also subscribed to the blog via email and also chairs the WJBBC – Wife Jee Board of Blog Certification: P) but when she speaks in ALL CAPS, you know you are in BIG trouble. I mean BIG TROUBLE; I mean the BIG like President Trump uses BIG to denote GREAT BIG WALL Of AMERICA kind of BIG. So I got into my “Sweet Like
Jalebi, I mean sweet like Internationally world famous in Agra Panchhi Petha Avatar and switched to damage control mode“ and said,
“Fikar not, dear, desi Traveler is here. You want to go to The Taj Mahal, You will Go to the Taj Mahal”, Let us pack the bags, Taj Mahal here comes desi Traveler once again.
So Bhaiyon or Bhabiyon (Bhabiyon- Because NO self-respecting modern desi woman wants to be known as Behan Jee !! ), in order to save our family “ Pran Jaye Par Wachan Na Jaye “ tradition we decided to go on a Road Trip to Agra from Gurgaon. Now most people swear by the newly constructed Taj Expressway, but to be honest & practical those living in Gurgaon recently
rechristened, re-Sanskarised to Guru Gram, actually don’t need to go to Taj Expressway as by the time you will reach Taj Expressway from Gurgaon, one can cross Mathura via Palwal and reach Taj Mahal much faster, especially if you start early from Gurgaon.
As we were on a Road Trip to Agra from Gurgaon, we first encountered the tomb of Akbar the Great, the Great Grandfather of Aurangzeb, the roadless. Yes, this Aurangzeb is the same notorious one who demolished the Qutub Shahi dynasty of the Golconda Fort fame.
Anyways a post on Sikandara will be posted in due course let us continue to our Road Trip to Taj Mahal. But before that, we stopped at the Agra Red Fort, which in my humble opinion more formidable than the one in Delhi. But our purpose of visiting the Red fort was not to conquer it but to look at the Taj from across the Yamuna just like the old deposed emperor Shahjahan looked when his scoundrel son Aurangzeb has put him under house arrest, saying
“ Rishte main to aap humare Baap lagte hain, but in this case Beta Baap say badkar hai and I cannot wait to feel the soft seat of Sultanat-E- Mughalia, so Dad, you please enjoy watching Taj from here, and let me go and try to refill the treasury that you have emptied in making this White elephant, I mean White Marble Taj Mahal”
As you can see this guy Aurangzeb had no respect for monuments, even the ones built by his father, no wonder his claim to fame is to destroy all kind of temples, forts etc. Anyways thanks to the overzealous son Aurangzeb too eager to warm the Peacock Throne, Shahjahan’s Jahan was reduced to his chambers in Agra Red Fort watching the monument built with the labor of love for his love lost in labor pain, leaving him in pain forever.
Anyways let us get back to our Road Trip to Taj Mahal, rather than reiterating the original Game of Thrones here. All we can hope that that eternity in waiting Prince
Charming Charles does not read this blog post and tries some hanky panky in Windsor Castle. I really like the Queen, ever since I read about her in Nursery Rhymes.
Pussycat-Pussycat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been up to London to visit the Queen.”
After the Red Fort soon we were in front of THE Taj Mahal. Like my previous many visits this time also one could smell all kind of scams and horse dung the moment you enter the Taj Precincts. Thankfully we got parking space easily and were chased by only about 2 dozen enterprising kids and young men whose business venture varied from Pick Pocketing to selling “ Factory made genuine antiques, to peddling horse buggy ride to showcase us Taj better than the OFFICIAL guides”
No wonder I love tourism sector in general and Taj Mahal in particular as it generates so many employment opportunities for the youth of this country. As we were negotiating our way to the ticket counter from the swarm of enterprising kids and young men, somebody spotted a White Skinned couple and screamed” Inhe Chodo, wo dekho Goray Wahan Chalo” ( Leave them, let us chase the White folks ) I was not sure if I should feel bad for the poor Gorays ( White People ) or feel good for getting rid of all the sales people or feel bad for being racially discriminated in my own country based on skin color 🙁
Well, like a good law abiding, god fearing, tax paying desi citizen we stood in a queue that had “ Snail’s Pace as a role model”. As the line moved we were again approached by some guides who claimed to be better than official guides as some fine example of pot-bellied cops blissfully tried to find something in their ears, nose and sometimes even in the groin. I am not sure if they found it or not for we were too keen to go and check the Taj Mahal.
No matter how many times you have seen the Taj, and photographed it, every single time you enter the gates and set your eyes on the Alabaster façade against an azure sky your jaw drops and your feet freeze till you are pushed by the wave of people entering behind you.
Welcome To Taj Mahal. The most iconic building ever built as a monument of a love lost.
We are soon engrossed in looking at the beautiful Taj Mahal, and its reflection in the fountain waters in front of it. The kids snatch phones from our hands and get busy on Selfie taking spree as I and Wife jee looked at each other.
“After 15 Years, 4 countries, living in 5 cities 100s of trips, 2 kids, finally we were together in front of the Taj Mahal, as she has always wanted to be. We were surrounded by hundreds of people from all over the world, yet we were the only two people present there looking at The Taj Mahal together for the very first time. Yes, Taj Mahal is very Very, VERY touristy, yes I have been there many many times, but the twinkle in her eyes on seeing the Taj while holding my hand was worth it all. It was as if we were saying our vows together once again. Only there was no priest, no witnesses, no ceremonies only the sparkle in her eyes that solemnized our vows. Yes, Taj Mahal is very Very, VERY Touristy, but there is nothing like The TAJ MAHAL anywhere else in the world, and if she wants to go there again, I will take her again in a heartbeat.
We are already planning a trip on a full moon night, keep watching this space.
Our little lovey Dovey moments were interrupted by the younger one
‘ Papa, I want to go to see the Taj from close, how long you and mama will keep on standing here”
Back on terra firma, we started walking towards the Taj carefully holding the hands of the younger one as the elder one moved ahead to capture us walking towards the Taj. BTW now you know why I am known as MBBS MD Traveler?
We loved being Tourists at The Taj Mahal and did everything that tourists do like clicking the Taj as if holding in hands, family shots in front of the Taj and the Princess Diana Seat at Taj Mahal ( there is a long wait for it so be prepared), hell we even got our pictures clicked and printed by some of the local photographers who give you the printout once you come out at a cost of INR 50 per print. They were not very good, but they are some of the best pictures that we ever got clicked together:) Go figure. The Taj is under some cleanliness drive by Archeological Survey of India hence you see all these scaffoldings on the minarets next to the Taj. The laborers are cleaning one tile at a time and it will be a long time before the earlier glory of the Taj is restored. But whenever those scaffoldings are removed you know who will be the first one to do a Road Trip to Agra?
This was a foggy January day and not one of the best days to photograph the Taj Mahal, hence the images you see are a bit soft and totally do not do justice to the timeless beauty of Taj. So please do forgive me for showing Taj in poor light in these images.
But what was not a good day to click images of Taj turned out to be an ok day to click images of people visiting Taj Mahal. Soon I was focusing on my fellow desi Travelers, busy capturing their own “ Wah Taj “ moments.
Everybody and their uncle visit Taj Mahal, anybody coming to Delhi from anywhere else in the world wants to visit Taj Mahal, considering Agra is only about 250 KM from Delhi NCR and from Gurgaon the hub of all the MNCs the distance is even less.
So before we close this post, here are some other pictures I clicked at Taj Mahal, ranging from Taj Mahal in Silhouette to the people visiting Taj Mahal, including this Mysterious Girl you will see in the last picture from my Instagram
What do you say? Have you been to Taj Mahal, are you planning a visit to Taj Mahal, is there any information you are looking about Taj Mahal?
Here is some useful information about visiting Taj Mahal
Do you know Taj Mahal has its own twitter handle where you can share your pictures > Check this > Taj Mahal
Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur form the famed Golden Triangle of India Tourism and each of city is approximately 250 KM from the next and most people land in Delhi International airport. You can take a Shatabdi Train or a Taj Express from Delhi to reach Agra and then rent a car to see around, but I always prefer to do a Road Trip To Agra as the amount of time I will spend in reaching to the railway station, I can cover distance till Palwal from Gurgaon.
Some Tips for Photographing Taj Mahal
If you want to get pictures without too much crowd, reach Taj Mahal as early as possible in the morning, they open at 6 am when the crowds are very less and only photographers types are there. But if you want the sunset shots like some of them shown here you need to be there after 3 pm. My suggestion is you need to visit the Taj Mahal more than once to get the complete experience. I have been there more than a dozen time but am sure will go again many more times. Many of the images you see in this post are over processed ( no Photoshop, though ) to bring out what I felt, and not necessarily represent what I saw. I will be happy to share with you the processing tips if you are interested in knowing.
Best Route to go To Taj Mahal Agra from Gurgaon
If you are traveling from Gurgaon To Agra my suggestion will be you take the Sohna Road till Sohna Chowk then reach Palwal on National Highway 2 continuing to Mathura and Agra, this is a better route for folks starting from Gurgaon rather than going to Taj Expressway. This is not the most smooth road till Palwal but you don’t have to cross Delhi and then Noida to reach the Taj Expressway. But the choice is yours, we did the Sohna, Palwal, Mathura- Agra route and reached Sikandra in less than 3 hours even though we stopped at many places for taking pictures of the blooming Sarson Ke Khet, on that beautiful January morning.
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