Day 6 (October 22, 2014)   Agra: Taj Mahal


   We should be out early this day if we want to enjoy a peaceful visit in Taj Mahal, so we must be at the entrance at the very opening time: 6 AM.

   When finished, we’ll come back to the hotel for our breakfast and check out. The rest of the day until the time to take our train to Delhi is to be spent visiting the remaining spots to visit in Agra, as the Fort or the complex called Sikandra, where Akbar tomb is.

Agra map

   The spots marked at map are:

 0- Hotel Taj Resorts
 1- Taj Mahal
 2- Agra Fort
 3- Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah
 4- Mehtab Bagh
 5- Tomb of Akbar


   We follow the plan for this morning so we’re leaving the hotel at 5:45 AM to walk to Taj Mahal entrance and it is so dark that it looks like there are still hours to the sunrise. There is already a line to the gate along the walls. Then we realize there are actually two lines: one for men and another for women.

Two lines at Taj Mahal's entranceGate to Taj Mahal

   At 6 AM they haven’t opened yet and it is not going to be until 6:15 that they do, when the darkness is getting clearer. After the scanners and body searches, people gather together in front of the first sight of the white wonder. We look for a place to take our pictures and go on. Taj Mahal is looking grey and a bit foggy, as we left it yesterday.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

   We must put some covers to our shoes to go upstairs to the base where the mausoleum is placed. Inside, where pictures are not allowed, has a simple rectangular tomb surrounded by circle made of latticework, all in the same white marble as the rest of the environment. When we’re walking to the exit, the sun appears and makes Taj Mahal shine looking better than before. We take new pictures here.

Taj MahalTaj Mahal

   Around 8 AM we’re back at hotel taking our breakfast and then we go to our room to rest for a while before check out time, which we do at 11 AM. It’s then when I call our friend from yesterday only to realize he has been waiting for us in front of the hotel doors this morning.

   Before leaving the room I used the wifi to check one last time the status of our train tickets and I’ve got shocked when seeing our tickets in waitlist have just changed the status to “confirmed”. That means we’re going to arrive earlier to Delhi, but also we must tell to our driver our train now leaves at 4 PM, instead of at 7 PM, so he can manage our visits. The first of them is now to Agra Fort.

Agra Fort

   Agra Fort is huge, red and, on these local holidays, pretty crowded with local tourists. We pay 300 Rs each, which would be 250 Rs if we had brought our Taj Mahal tickets.

Agra FortAgra Fort

   We explore the whole fort. Its right has views to Taj Mahal. That was the part where the emperor who made the popular mausoleum built, Shah Jahan, was imprisoned by his son. He passed his last years by looking his work.

Views of Taj Mahal from Agra FortAgra Fort

Agra Fort

   When we leave the fort, Rangu is waiting for us to go on with our itinerary. We’ve been seeking the shadow all the time as the pollution cloud covering Agra makes this city one of the warmest of India.

   Our next visit is to Sikandra, the place with the tomb of famous emperor Akbar, who made built Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri and grandfather of Shah Jahan. The way is long as it is at the outskirts of the city. Once there, you can feel this place is out of the touristic typical routes. We pay 100 Rs for each ticket.


Blackbucks in Sikandra

   This complex has a similar design than Taj Mahal’s: three similar and impressive gates set in front and at both sides of the mausoleum. It is needed again to remove your shoes to access to the moderated interior.

   Next visit in our list is Itimad ud Daulah’s Tomb, known as Baby Taj because it is the onlyItimad ud Daulah's tomb aka Baby Taj mausoleum in white marble a part than Taj Mahal, although very smaller. I tell to Rangu my decision of avoiding all the hassle we experienced yesterday to take the only bridge to the other side of the river and look for a good place at this side to get some pictures from the monument.

   With this change we’ve got the time Eva needs to look for some dress as she’s been asking for it for a while. Our driver take us to a big store where my wife can finally buy a saari by 1200 Rs and, as we must wait 30 minutes for the tailor to make the arrangements for her, I look some shirts and finally get one pijama kameez by 800 Rs.

   While waiting at the store we’ve got a chat with the manager and a young shop assistant about the customs or our countries. For the first time I’ve got shocked by her answer about our country as we’re used to be answered about football, bulls, flamenco, Barcelona, Madrid, etc… when saying we’re from Spain, but this time she said ”that’s the country of “tomatina”. I’ve been so shocked and I has to asked about how they knew about “tomatina” in front of a long list of typical things in Spain, it seems everybody here knows about this local festival of a town in Valencia because it appears in a very popular Indian movie from Bollywood.

   This has taken a lot of time and, although Rangu has promised we would be at train station on time, but his promise gets compromised when his rickshaw gets broken. He gets a mechanic at once but he finally must transfer us to another rickshaw for the trip to the hotel to take the bags and then to the train station. This must be done in 30 minutes. We say good bye to Rangu and do these rides against the clock. I’m grateful of still having tickets for a later train today.
Class 1A at Chattisgarth Express
    Our new driver gets the target and delivers us at Agra Canttoment train station at 4:05 PM. Our train is scheduled for 4:08 PM so we take a quick look to the display to know we must go to platform 2 and keep running to it. I think I saw it is 30 minutes delayed but, as I’m not sure, we explore the cars of the train stopped on platform 2 looking for its number, still running, as if it is our train it is scheduled to leave in less than one minute. Somehow, it’s a Spanish couple in the platform who clear any doubts as they’re waiting for the same train: it is not and ours is indeed delayed.

Our room in Silver Ferns Hotel    It finally gets the station one hour late, which we’ve spent well sharing experiences on this country with this couple. Once in our car, I can see we’ve been assigned the only two-berth cabin. Along the trip we’re offered for food a lot of times. We must pay for every offer, but it is cheap and good and makes a good – and late - lunch for us.

    At Delhi station I manage to get as low as 500 Rs the initial offer of 800 Rs from a taxi driver with a comfortable van to take us to Saket. In our way we can see the festive around because Diwali and the sounds from the crackers will be there for the entire night, but when we reach our room we only want to sleep.