We arrive in Agra at 8am and immediately head to our hotel to see if we can get our rooms and drop our stuff.
Agra was also a big city. It used to be the capital before a former ruler changed it to Delhi. Although there was slightly less pollution and smog it was just as chaotic! Once we arrived at our hotel luckily we were able to get into our rooms so we could quickly freshen up before getting back on the minibus to head to the Taj Mahal.
We all got on the mini bus and went to the Taj Mahal. When queueing up we had to separate men and women into different queues. Once we got through security we were only a short 5 minute walk to the Taj Mahal. Having been subjected to two days of complete chaos in the big cities it was amazing to finally get to a huge landmark. It delivered too! Despite being full of people from across India and abroad it was a very special place and deserves its place on the list of wonders of the world.
KV, our CEO, gave us a brief introduction to the Taj Mahal and we were given an hour to freely explore the site. I’ve got so many good photos! Very chuffed to have ticked another wonder of the world off the bucket list!
It took 22 years to build the Taj Mahal and it’s truly spectacular. It’s now a world heritage site and receives the appropriate care and treatment to keep it in good condition.
After rounding the group up again we got back into the minivan and went to get lunch. KV had organised lunch at a restaurant that specialises in South Indian cuisine. It was a pretty good lunch!
Once we had finished lunch we got back into the minivan and began our journey to the Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort. The Moghul’s used red coloured stoned for many of their buildings and this Fort is another example of the red stone.
The Fort was extremely well defended… with a river on one side and a moat running around the other 3 sides it was extremely impressive. I expected the Taj Mahal to be very grand and impressive and whilst it was incredible to see it in person I was actually more amazed and impressed by the Red Fort. So many aspects of it had been thoroughly thought out and it had a part for the Emperor which was extremely grand and had an incredible view of the Taj Mahal across the river. It was like something you can only imagine as a kid…. an emperor/king in his castle and looking over his land whilst making decisions. There were a number of balconies where this became reality.
We spent just short of an hour at the Red Fort and again KV did an awesome job of explaining the history of the fort and the stories behind certain areas within it. After finishing our tour of the Red Fort we were back onto the minibus and went to the Baby Taj.
The Baby Taj is a building and compound constructed by the daughter of the Emperor for her parents. It has affectionately become known as the Baby Taj by Westerners but this is really strange considering it doesn’t look anything like the Taj Mahal. Again, this was an impressive structure which resides next to the main river running through Agra.
Our final stop of the day was to go to the Mehtab Bagh Gardens to see the Taj Mahal at sunset. We were all flagging at this point considering the 4am start but KV kept us going and we all powered through – to get a photo of the Taj Mahal at sunset was an opportunity you can’t really pass up. The gardens were nice and you can imagine in their prime they looked spectacular. Once we had spent 45 minutes in the Gardens everyone was ready to head back to the hotel and freshen up before dinner. What a day!