Agra Fort or the Red Fort: Another important heritage site in India, a wonderful piece of Indian history, the views are impressive. I was impressed by the way they have restored even the most intricate designs on the mosques, of course most of the paints have peeled away. We spent the day walking around and getting amazed on once a very powerful place. Too bad, you can only see 25% of the fort, the rest are for military purposes.
Take a deep breath when you get to the front gate, the traffic to enter the fort is horrific and you won’t feel particularly safe when crossing the road. This is a very busy attraction as tourists come here after they see the Taj, there are also a lot of photo opportunities here.
Great view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort.
Earlier that day, we went to the Fatehpur Sikri, a complex of 16th century monuments and temples, all in a uniform Mughal architectural style, also includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. Fatehpur Sikri is around 39 km from the city of Agra, we took the government bus to get here, and once you reach Fatehpur Sikri, all the interesting sights are just walking distance from the bus stop.
Our Taj Mahal tour in India is a once in a lifetime experience. I consider myself lucky to have seen one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It left me with many cherished memories to last a lifetime. Its beauty is sure to cast a magic spell on you forever.
Okay, enough for being cheesy. We actually agreed upon not seeing the Taj Mahal because of the highly inflated entry fee for tourists (750Rp for foreigners, and 510Rp for SAARC/BIMSTEC countries and around 20Rp for the locals – We’re on a tight budget!); but at the end, it didn’t matter, our guesthouse was just located on the south gate of the Taj and it’s probably a good idea if we just pay a visit to the most beautiful building in the world. Why go to Agra and not see it, right?
And also, in order to save up on the entry fees, I pretend to be Thai (I’m a Filipina and often mistaken as Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian or Japanese, this time I was lucky enough to use my Thai looks!). When the staff asked me where my passport is, to prove that I am from Thailand, I replied: I left it in the guesthouse and guesthouse, farrrr (far). He looked convinced and issued me a 510Rp entry ticket to the mesmerizing Taj.
The Taj itself was magnificent. The outside of the building has beautiful marble carvings all along the walls. There are steps and walkways made of marble all around the building, and you can walk all the way around it. The building and towers are perfectly symmetrical, so whatever is on the left side on the right.
Inside, you can view the marble tombs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan. These are fake tombs, and the real ones are underneath, and photography is prohibited. There are stairs leading down to the actual tombs, but those have been cordoned off. The inside of the Taj is lit by natural lighting, so it is a bit dark. The walls inside are also beautifully carved, with wonderful inlay work and intricate detail. The inside of the Taj is actually smaller than I thought, and is much smaller than the outside of the building.
I really enjoyed my visit to the Taj – it is undoubtedly the epitome of India tourism, and I’m really glad I got a chance to see it. It was definitely a memorable experience! x