Posts Tagged ‘Agra Fort’

Taj Mahal

Even though India is high on my list of places to visit and the Taj Mahal is at the tippy top of the list, it’s doubtful I’ll be there anytime soon. John (my husband), on the other hand, spent the month of May on a school trip to India, Nepal and Bangladesh. I’ve been living vicariously through his stories and photos. And bonus, he’s agreed to share his travels here on Displaced Beachbums as a guest blogger ~ we’ll need a few posts to cover the three-week trip. Hope you enjoy reading about his adventures as much as I have. All photos taken by John.

We woke up early to catch the two-hour train ride from Delhi to Agra. The train ride was our first full day in India and we were bombarded by the cacophony of sights, sounds and smells. Having just come from London, the 42°C (107°F) temperatures were oppressive. The most striking aspect of the journal was the people ~ everywhere! Sleeping on the sidewalks, crowding on the trains. Sadly, many children begging.

India Train Station

Agra Train Station, India

India Tuk Tuks

Tuk-Tuks at the Agra Train Station

Entrance Gate to Taj mahal

Entrance gate to the Taj Mahal.

We took a coach from the Agra Train station to a parking area not far from the Taj Mahal. Because they just cleaned the Taj Mahal complex, gasoline/diesel vehicles are not allowed due to the pollution. Only battery-powered vehicles are allowed (think giant golf cart). The Taj Mahal complex is massive ~ not just the one white building. The buildings surrounding the Taj Mahal are made of red sandstone. 

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal was built as a memorial to the third wife of Shah Jahan. Her name was Muntaz Mahal and she died giving birth to their 14th child. The entire complex was completed in 1653. As you get closer to the building, the details become more apparent. You can go inside the building but you must take off your shoes or wear booties over your shoes. This is to protect the beautiful white marble floors.

Tower near The Taj Mahal

Upon closer inspection, the minarets appear to be leaning slightly. This was actually incorporated into the design because the area is earthquake prone. The designers built leaning 5° outward so if they fall, they will fall away from the main building. The minarets are strictly decorative.

Taj Mahal

A view of the Taj Mahal from the entranceway. Not sure why there was so much digging going on ~ new sod perhaps.

Taj Mahal Entrance

Entrance gate from the inside.

After two hours or so at the Taj Mahal, we headed over to the Agra Fort which is about 2 miles away. During the 16th century, Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire. In 1565, the huge red Agra Fort was built. It was built as a military structure but Shah Jahan changed it to a palace in the 17th century.

India View of Taj Mahal from Red Fort

In 1658, The Shah’s son Aurangzeb seized power and imprisoned his father in Agra Fort where he could look out of his window to see his beloved Taj Mahal. He died eight years later and was buried inside the Taj Mahal beside his wife.
View of Taj Mahal from Agra Fort, India

Taj Mahal as seen from Agra Fort

India The Red Fort

Entrance into Agra Fort ~ there’s a moat but currently no water is in it.

Monkey at Agra Fort India

To my surprise, the entrance to the Agra Fort is guarded by a few monkeys (look closely). The monkeys didn’t bother anyone and it certainly added to the ambiance of the fort.

Gardens at Agra Fort

Beautiful Gardens inside Agra Fort

Gardens at Agra Fort

It was Sunday and there were a lot of local India families visiting the grounds.

What better way to start off a tour of South Asia then a visit to the famous Taj Mahal. It certainly set the tone for the trip…

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