Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 3: Taking in Agra

Agra is best known as the home of the Taj Mahal. And that was our first stop of the day. It was “not crowded” by Indian standards, and we were all thrilled to discover that the “high priced tickets” foreigner are forced to buy (it’s nearly free for Indians to enter) basically equaled a Taj fast pass.

The line for Indians to enter the grounds was hundreds of people deep, but we walked straight through the “high price ticket entrance.” Our tickets also included a bottle of water and shoe covers, so we didn’t have to go barefoot on the blistering hot marble.

The Taj Mahal was much smaller than I imagined and just as impressive as the structure itself are the grounds surrounding it. The gardens are original, not recreations. So the flower beds, tree placements and fountains are all just as the original designers intended.

Next door to the Taj, we toured the Red Fort. It was every bit as remarkable as its famous showy neighbor. The fort covers more than a square mile and has never once been completely taken. It featured gates large enough for elephants to enter, corridors where acid would be poured onto invaders, chambers for the emperor, his wives and his concubines, meeting areas for the parliament, and a prison where the emperor who built the Taj was ultimately imprisoned by his son.

1 comment:

David C. Burton said...

Completely random: When I visited the Taj we went on an evening and then saw the Red Fort the following morning. It was during that night when news broke about Michael Jackson's death. For the rest of my trip, when people learned I was from the U.S. they would say "Oh, Michael Jackson, I'm so sorry for your loss" as if I knew him personally. I guess it's easier to know everyone in your country when you only have 300 million people as compared to 1 billion+.