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26 - 29 of December

Agra, India

The main purpose for visiting Agra was to see the famous Taj Majal. Therefore, we stayed there just for 3 days.

Our first glimpse of the Taj Majal was from the roof top restaurant at our small hotel. It was a great impression, especially as we were not expecting to see it so closely from there.

After observing it for a long time from different sides, we concluded that its beauty is coming from its symmetry (enhanced by the 4 towers that surround it), its big size and its blue sky background (because it is mounted in a platform). These were our impressions from far away. When we were able to see it closely enough then we appreciated the beauty of the marble and the details cut on it, the precious and semi precious stones decoration and the black details of the Quran writings, making it even more beautiful. However, inside there is not much. Just the two fake tombs of the King and her wife. The real tombs are off limits to the public.

It was a love story that transformed into a sad story. The Mughal King Shah Jahan had had two wives and they hadn’t giving him kids. So he married a third one. She gave him 13 kids, so he was a very happy man. However, when she was giving birth to the 14th child, she passed away. The King was extremely sad and became very old over night. He decided to build the most beautiful mausoleum for her, the Taj Majal.

It is said (although not official) that after its completion, the King wanted to build another identical mausoleum for himself, only in black. It was to be located across the Yamuna River and a white and black bridge would connect the two. Apparently, one of the sons of the King thought that the idea was crazy as the cost of building another Taj Majal would have been unbearable for the people, especially as the black onyx would need to be brought from Italy. Therefore, the son imprisoned his father and became the King. The old King was kept in the Agra Fort from where he could glimpse the magnificent Taj Majal. When he died, his son buried him next to the Queen inside the Taj Majal.

We also visited the Agra Fort, with palaces, temples and different halls and confirmed that it is possible to see the Taj Majal from there.

Agra is a small town and in general uninspiring. We also got caught in the last night of a 10 day Muslim festival which had the centre of the town summoned in the loudest religious singing we have ever heard, accompanied by drums for more than 24 hours including an entire night.

Therefore, we were happy to move to the next city.

permalink written by  patryandjose on December 26, 2009 from Agra, India
from the travel blog: Resumen de dónde estamos y para dónde vamos? - Summary of where we are and where are we going to?
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