Taj Mahal, passionate halt

Before going to India, I was only thinking this, see the Taj Mahal in person! One of the seven wonders of the world, the palace of love, an architectural gem. While the Taj Mahal is not the most beautiful palace, monument of India, its history and its symbol is in an exceptional place.

Taj Mahal

La ville d’Agra

Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal, one of the most tourist cities of the planet, is the third city of Uttar Pradesh. As a result, the city lost, in my opinion, any cultural identity. Large avenues wielding monstrous monuments direction signs have replaced the beautiful streets and walking around is now virtually impossible. You have to take a rickshaw that is sure to ask you an astronomical sum to bring you to the entrance of the Taj Mahal. As you can see, the city of Agra presents no great interest out of the Taj Mahal, Red Fort and the Bazaar for the more adventurous.

A rickshaw, a camel towards the Taj Mahal

The rickshaw drops me at the west entrance of the Taj Mahal Park. Wandering the paths, I meet whole families of monkeys and carts pulled by camels and carrying rich Indian tourists.

After 10 minutes of walking, I finally get near the windows. That’s it, I can admire the Taj Mahal … I twist the neck, lift heels, doing nothing I still do not see it. First look around and surprise, a wonderful sign for silence !! Ahaha, irony, silence in India!?!

Guides tingling around the wickets, 750 rupees for Western tourists (the highest rate for heritage conservation!).

Silent zone of Taj Mahal

Park of Taj Mahal
After the majestic red doors reminiscent of the Red Fort, I finally arrive in the park where the Taj Mahal is located. I am overcome with emotion. All photographers stop to take with the best view of the building. I am no exception to the rule and also poses a beating heart!

Door of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, viewed from inside
On entering the single room of the Taj Mahal, one must behave as in all Indian sacred places, ie turning around the tomb in the direction of clockwise. Hindu women pray and ambrassent the tomb, some crying. It must be very dark, against very hot and we all crowded each other to advance in step. The walls are covered with frescoes, pigeons flying over our heads.

An abundance of colors

Between the blue of the pool, the immaculate white of the Taj Mahal, green gardens and trees, the red doors that surround it and brightly colored saris of Indian women is a profusion of colors that inhabits the place.

indian women

Indians vs Western people

At Taj Mahal, we do not mix (not just the Taj Mahal you say)! Although all visitors without exception are tourists, Indian and Western are separated at every opportunity.

  • Admission fees, but not at the same price for all. It Is also the case for most visits in India. Objective: To participate in the heritage maintenance.
  • Access to the Taj Mahal: there are a total of four queues. One for Indian men, the largest queue and one where waiting under the sun beating is the longest (sometimes more than one hour). Then there is that of Western men, faster. Then the line of Indian women in groups for most. And finally that of Western women, where there is virtually people. 10 minutes maximum waiting.
  • Walking bare foot. With their entry ticket, western entitled to a pair of shoes protectors to avoid removing their shoes on the esplanade of Taj Mahal. The Indians meanwhile have at their disposal open lockers where file their sandals.
  • Enter the grounds of the Taj Mahal: again, there are two queues, one for Indian snaking around the Taj Mahal and the other for the Western where the expectation is practically zero. It’s simple, regardless of the number of Indian people waiting, if a Western is present at the input, it passes the queue without waiting …!

Queue Taj Mahal

Romance in Taj Mahal

The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and is orchestrated by monghol Emperor Shah Jahan in memory to his wife Arjumand Bamu Began (in Persian named Mumtaz Mahal). Built entirely of white marble, mausoleum fascinates both by the different theories relating to its construction or ink his representations (religious, romantic, etc …).

More than one day in Agra, what to do ?

Undoubtedly, go to Fatehpur Sikri. At about 1 hour by bus from the bus station of Agra (return in the day possible), Fatehpur Sikri is a must if you have time. Built on a rocky plateau in the sixteenth century by Emperor Akbar, the city is still perfectly preserved. It is a beautiful place where you will find India of yesteryear.

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