We should be out early this day if we want to enjoy a
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 only
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
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.
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.
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.