Monday, February 15, 2010

14 February 2010, Agra - St. Valentine's day at Taj Mahal

We left Delhi with a morning train. At first, we confused the trains (got into 2002 instead of 2002b) but kind local people noticed an extensive number of foreigners (that are not supposed to be on this train, well, at least not in this quantity) and sent us to a correct one.
3 hours later we were in Agra. We made a mistake by not booking a room in advance (for example, in Delhi there is no need to book a room without having a look at it as rooms are normally available). So we had to accept what was available. The room in Taj Mahal was quite dirty, with no glass in the bathroom window and with a swarm of mosquitoes. However the guest house manager was a nice man and we got our bed clothing changed, a fumigator. The window in the bathroom was securely closed with a plastic bag and scotch tape that I took from home. Result: all mosquitoes were dead.
In the afternoon we headed to Taj Mahal. The security check at the gates was fairly serious, every person should be inspected as well as his or her belongings. No guns, knifes, laptop accumulators, any food and chewing gums are allowed. The last two points are aimed at keeping the territory clean.
Taj Mahal is fascinating. So far it is the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Officially, no photography is allowed inside the tomb. Unofficially, everybody were flicking with their cameras even though it is not a good place for good pictures as it is dark like any other tomb. It was shocking to watch people taking pictures with the graves on the background, kids laughing, all that noise and crush.
There are lawns in front of Taj Mahal with the plates “no entry to the grass” that are totally ignored by people. There were families and friends companies on the grass. So we did too for a couple of minutes to take some pictures.

Agra itself is a huge village. Once you get closer to the hotels area, you will be followed by persistent rickshaw drivers. Hello SirWhere you goYou need rickshawWhere you goSir?”. Tourist shall not walkIf a foreigner walks along the street, it means he is looking for a rickshaw. If he refuses, it means that he did not realize yet that rickshaw is what he needs so he needs to be persuaded. Same story with the shop boys. “Sir, come to my shop, I will give you the best price, real price, Sir!”. It reminded me Istanbul, though nobody will dare to touch you. Plus, nobody talks to me here on the street. I am just a woman…


  1. Some really cool pictures! Check out my blog on our trip to Taj

  2. you're a talented photographer!