April 20, 2016


The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, about a 4 hour drive from Delhi. My friends and I were able to hire a driver to take us there for the weekend for about 12 bucks per person. The drive was pretty easy and before you knew it we were arriving at our Hotel in Agra. We decided to splurge a bit and stay at nice hotel and I am glad we did. The staff at The Gateway Hotel in Agra were so great and the pool there was just what we needed. We had planned on doing sunrise at the Taj because we heard it was amazing and then go to the Agra Fort in the afternoon.

The Taj is everything people say and more, yet in some ways it felt smaller in places than I imagined it to be, however it was spectacular and to think about how and when and why it was built. For those that do not know it is a shrine to the 3rd wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, his favorite wife. He then was laid to rest next to her and the two still lie there today. After coming back for a quick bite at the hotel we went back out to visit Agra Fort, which was so spectacular. It felt like it could go on forever. The people there were so friendly, we got stopped a few times to take some pictures. I was rather shocked to be honest, to me my skin isn't that off set from their own but people were respectful about it. I wonder what they do with the pictures they take with strangers?
  • A couple of things to note, most places in India have a women's line and a men's line when going through security. At the airports I found this to be frustrating because the women's line requires you to go into a small pop up room type thing to be scanned with a female officer. Meanwhile your belongs are chilling on the conveyor belt for anyone to swipe. Also the ladies' line is always longer then the gents and yet they only have one for us ladies, which means it takes forever to get through. The Taj was no different, our friend Darren was waiting for me, Celete, and Paulina for quite some time for us to get through.
  • It was a good idea to go super early, and I would recommend it as we got there before the big crowds so touring it was easy. Also the street sellers are not so overwhelming that early, you have a few people trying to sell you their service as a "guide" which we FIRMLY said no to, but that is all. However on our exit of the Taj it was crazy, getting into the car we were bombarded with people trying to sell us things and banging on the windows. I had this moment of like "this must be how Beyonce feels" it was crazy and a bit scary too. You will say NO a lot and when you think you have said it enough, say it again, people do not relent

Agra left me with so many thoughts, this location that houses one of the world's most opulent pieces of architecture is also a location of some supreme poverty. We had people trying to get us to buy things for just 100 rupees. I can't make assumptions about what their lives are like, I can only go by the things I saw and I found myself wondering if the people of Agra harbor any resentment to The Taj. Check out some pictures below and stay tuned for my next stop Jodhpur, the blue city!

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