Archive for the ‘Agra’ Category

  • Agra Fort

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    Another highlight is Agra Fort, a monument built as a military citadel by the great mughal emperor Akbar. The red sandstone fort and palace is considered the biggest in India and we can assure that it is bigger than Delhi’s one. The fort was built primarily as a military structure, but Shah Jahan upgraded it to a palace, and later it became his gilded prison for 8 years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. The funny story is that Agra’s Fort has extraordinary views of the Taj Mahal and this, we guess, should have contributed to increase Shah Jahan’s madness remembering his beloved wife while he was imprisoned.

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  • Visiting the Taj Mahal through the back door

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    We decided not to enter to the Taj Mahal’s inner compound and to spend the 15 euros entrance fee for foreigners (for indian citizens is just 0.3 euro!!!) in travel expenses and therefore extend the length of our trip. Instead of going inside the monument, we decided to have a much more interesting and educative walk to the other side of the Yamuna river, just on the back of the Taj Mahal. It was great to admire the building in complete tranquillity, interacting with locals and with no tourist around us. We can’t compare it with the actual experience of seeing the monument at close range, although we can assure that an independent traveller like us will enjoy much more this rewarding walk.

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    The way follows the Yamuna river up to the first railway bridge, crossing to the other side of the river. It seems that very little number of tourists do this walk (everyone prefer to catch an otto or taxi rather than walk for an hour), since locals keep staring at us as if we were a cinema screen, like in the german expression “guecke ich wie ein Kino?”. The closer we get to the back side of the Taj, the poorest and less visited the area is. The friendliness and kindness of the people is overwhelming. After a while kidding and playing with children, we got to the view point where it’s possible to admire the Taj Mahal to its best. Anyway, for those wishing to enter to the Taj Mahal here is a tip: the South gate is normally not very busy and the access is faster than the East and West gates, where cueing can be longer than 1 hour!!!.

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  • Agra

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    The first image that people recall when thinking about India is most probably the one of a gorgeous white marble building, which is said to be the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Everyone knows the Taj Mahal, a World Heritage mausoleum built between 1631 and 1653 by the grief stricken Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Such was the love that he felt for her that the emperor decided to perpetuate it and leave testimony forever. You can admire and take pictures of the entire monument (including the surrounding walls and gates) from many of the hotel’s roof top restaurants in Taj Ganj area, which is the place preferred by backpackers because of the cheap hotels and proximity to the Taj Mahal. The views are superb, although a bit far and quite foggy in the morning.

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