The Taj Mahal, Agra has been a monument of fascination for people all around the globe. Its history, architecture, and story have stood the test of time. I too was fascinated with the Taj Mahal. Don’t get to assumptions. I am not the one for symbolism or romanticism, but still, the sheer magnificence of this tall structure in white always marveled me. Maybe it was the many stories I had heard about its beauty that just expounded its appeal in my eyes, or maybe, the fact that I had already seen the Eiffel Tower and Pyramids that made me wonder, why haven’t I seen the Taj Mahal yet.
But 2019 was the year. I told myself I’ve waited too long; 4 years is too long to visit one of the most surreal wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal. So I packed my bags for a quick getaway, booked that flight to Delhi and was on my way. I joined two friends already in Delhi who was busy attending a wedding and put my powers of persuasion to use, convincing them to join me for a trip to Agra and voila!
After an early morning flight in the cold of January, I arrived in Delhi and headed towards Hazrat Nizammudin Railway station to catch up with my friends. Delhi looked extremely different in the cold with the mist all over and the people covering every inch of their body, braving the cold. But not me; I was pumped... I was going to see the TAJ.
We go onto our Agra bound train that took around 5 hours to reach. An auto ride from the station then led me towards one of the best hotels in Agra. Don’t jump to any conclusions yet, I didn’t live at the Taj to see the real Taj, but it was much better. We booked ourselves a small, cozy and humble room at Hotel Kamal. You want to know why it was one of the best hotels. Well, because when we came out of our rooms and climbed a small flight of stairs, we saw the undisturbed view of THE TAJ MAHAL. Yes... that was my first glimpse of the Taj; sitting there sipping my cup of chai in the cold of January with the warmth of good friends. That was Taj from angle number 1.
From then on, I couldn’t wait to see the Taj up close and touch the white as snow marble. So we headed towards the real deal. Friends and family have told me so much about the Taj. But they all felt short! Nothing matched the experience of standing before it. The symmetry of its architecture, the eye for detail, the grandeur of its presence and its mere history is overwhelming (of course in a good way!) We spent hours roaming around the premises and they felt like minutes (Theory of relativity at its best!) But as we were just heading out, that one look when we stopped to climb a step before moving out the gate, that my friends were Wah Taj angle number 2.
The three of us spent the remainder of the day talking about the architecture in and around Agra and visiting local food joints. We also came to know that Sheroes Hangout (a cafe run and managed by Acid Attacker survivors) was located in Agra and enjoyed an evening coffee out there.
Come the next morning, and I was up and about to see the Taj again. We rented a car and headed to Mehtab Bagh. It was a race against time, as we planned to see the sunrise with the Taj in the background. Sounds surreal, right? It was!
Mehtab Bagh is a huge complex opposite the Taj which is set apart by the Yamuna River. We reached there just minutes before sunrise and perched ourselves at the best spot. The quiet spot hadn’t had many visitors other than a few who came out for their morning walk. And then the sun rose, adding yellow to the white, making it a sight worth waking up for. Watching the water flow by, the sky slowly turning bright blue and the monument naturally lighting up was the Taj Mahal from angle number 3, which also ended up to be the best Wah Taj angle.
With a content heart, I then boarded the train back to Mumbai from Nizamuddin station to return to base. But in the little travel time that I had on my hands, I tried to take in as much of the world’s most beautiful monument as possible. I am still looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal from many more angles. You can drop a line or so in the comment about your Wah Taj story. You can also read about the many Taj replicas across India in my upcoming blogs.
How to Reach:
By Air: Agra’s Kheria airport is connected only by Air India flights from New Delhi.
By Train: Agra is situated on the DEL-MUM and DEL-CHN route and has trains to major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai.
By Road: Agra is well connected by bus to cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Lucknow, and Kanpur with buses plying on a daily basis.