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Paul & Tracey's Travels
5th Feb 2012 - Delhi,Rajasthan & Agra,India
Visit to the Taj Mahal - 7th wonder of the world! and some local Bollywood

Visit to the Taj Mahal

Today we are visiting the Taj Mahal - one of the seven wonders of the world and the second that we have seen after the Colosseum in Rome.

Situated a couple of KM from our hotel, it is a huge white marble mausoleum built as a monument for his third wife who died in child birth, by Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna River, it was finished in 1653 after 21 years of design and building.

When we got up we could not see the Taj Mahal out of our "Taj view room" because of the haze and smog from the city. The authorities do not let petrol engined vehicles right near the building, but as the exclusion zone is only about half a km, I am not sure how effective that measure is in a city of nearly two million.

Entrance to a seventh wonder

A 5 minute drive found us in the car park, where we picked up a free battery powered bus to get to the entrance, after fencing off the usual crowd of persistent locals trying to get us to take a guide or buy shoe covers or buy a carpet or take a ride in an auto rickshaws etc etc

There are four different gates you can enter by and all take you into the so called entrance court which is huge in itself, built in the local red stone, and with English looking lawns. You then pass through an archway and the Taj Mahal is laid out before you in all it's glory. It is built at such an angle that the sun is alway on the side that you approach from (the rear being the Yamuna River.

Beauty on a large scale

The thing that strikes you is just how big it is - 55 metres wide and the same tall. I imagine this must be one of the most photographed buildings in the world, and today there were huge crowds of tourists, mostly Indian, snapping away. You can walk across the lawns but most people walk down the water channel in the centre and up on to the marble platform in front of the building to get a good vantage point.

There is a huge marble platform in front of the tomb that you can use to walk right round the building, and you can go inside the mausoleum which is actually surprisingly small, but shoes must be removed. The scale and craftsmanship is amazing. We probably stayed in the grounds for about two hours, before heading back to the car, and driving a few KM across to the other side of the river where you can visit Agra Fort, built in the local red stone again, and a point where you can look across the river at the Taj Mahal. To be honest though, the smog was quite bad today and our hotel room view is much better.

Lazy afternoon

On the way back to the hotel we were persuaded by our driver Prem to get some tickets to a cultural Indian dance show tonight at the Kalakriti. Not sure quite what to expect, but we are up for it. I am sitting here typing this with the Taj Mahal in plain view - a stunning building and well worth a trip to Agra to see.

Spent the rest of the day chilling by the pool. Although we have so far avoided Malaria and Denque fever, I suddenly developed a stinker of a cold a couple of days ago. So far I have eaten nothing but Indian (including the beer) and the other day I was pursuaded to try Masala (ginger) tea to help cope with my cold, but tea here is usually served really sweet with milk, so I did not really enjoy it, and so far it does not seem to have helped !

Bollywood Agra style

At 6pm we went round the corner to a local theatre called Kalakriti to see a show called Mohabbat the Taj - the story of Shah Jahan and the creation of the Taj Mahal. Although a stage show, there were filmed images presented on a backdrop. A mixture of dance dialogue and images, produced by people from the Bollywood film industry in Mumbai, this was a really entertaining show, helped by a Hindi to English translation on headphones. The costumes and stage sets were amazing and well worth the £13 ticket price.

Tomorrow we leave Agra for a 4 or 5 hour drive to Delhi, where we will stay one night before flying out to Nepal.

Next: Road trip North to Delhi
Previous: East to Uttar Pradesh and Agra


Diary Photos

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal from the Gateway Hotel, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Tracey at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul and Tracey at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul and Tracey at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Tracey at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul and Tracey at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Paul at Taj Mahal, Agra, India


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