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"Cows have owners and go home when they're hungry"

The Indian Experience - Agra

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One of my main inspirations to go to India altogether was to visit the Taj Mahal. And having been my dream for a whole seven months, today was the day I would finally make it to one of the world's most famous sights.

Although arranging the trip myself or booking a tour when I had arrived in India would probably have been much cheaper, with everything else going on I felt much more at ease to spend a bit of extra money booking an all inclusive excursion in advance, meaning there was no extra stress for the trip. Every little helps!

Although I was picked up at my hotel quite early, I jumped straight into the car for the three hour drive from Delhi down to Agra allowing me to still rest in the morning, which after yesterday's long walk made it quite relaxing.

Getting to Agra, I was met by my tour guide Hilal - a very funny and knowledgeable man who also had a passion for amateur photography - a perfect opportunity for me travelling alone to still end up with some great photos!

Great Gate

Great Gate

After arriving at the entrance to the Taj complex we took a cycle-rickshaw down to the ticket office and after going through security we entered by the Great Gate before entering to witness the world famous view of the Taj itself.

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

From previous experience, I have quite often found that famous attractions like the Taj Mahal end up being slightly underwhelming because expectations are usually very high. And as I had expected a lot I would probably leave feeling somewhat disappointed. However this was not the case at all. The whole complex was stunningly beautiful! So well kept, and amazingly accurate symmetry throughout. A breathtaking experience.

The view you never normally see

The view you never normally see

Luckily the fog that had swept over the whole region was not too dense, and so the Taj was visible in all its glory. Having taken various viewpoints from afar, and using the water to reflect the building for some lovely photos, we eventually made our way into the mausoleum itself, again with fascinatingly accurate symmetry, and highly creative artwork. Although having been distracted by monkeys we initially forgot to put our shoe covers on and had begun walking around like true rebels dirtying the plinth!

On the plinth

On the plinth


"Like A Model"

"Like A Model"

After spending lots of time at the Taj, including being asked by locals to have photos with them; and taking plenty of photos for myself around the complex (at one stage being so photogenic Hilal commented that I could be a model! - hmmm...not sure on that one!) we made our way to the other attraction in Agra - the Red Fort. The fort was huge, and was the home to the local kings being lavishly decorated in traditional Mughal style of northern India.

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

After a busy morning of sites, I was then taken to a local restaurant for some lunch, which although tasty, was a little bit spicy for my British tongue, and may have contributed towards some later problems. After paying for the rest of the tour, and stopping at a local shop to see how the stones were carved at the Taj, I was driven through Agra on my way back to Delhi, when Hilal told me that in India, as cows are so sacred, they are loved and thus all have owners. In the day they wander the streets, but when they get hungry they go back home to be fed. I guess this is the Indian version of the western domestic cat....

Just a cow strolling across the road...

Just a cow strolling across the road...

Arriving back in Delhi by 6pm, I then had a nice relaxing evening to look back over the day, and get my bits together for tomorrow's early train to Amritsar, and my final city on the trip.

The Taj Mahal is an absolutely stunning attraction that makes the whole trip worth it. It's just a shame that in order to see it, you have to go through the rest of India to get there....

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Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in India Tagged temple fort shrine indianexperience

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