The trip to my Sasural (my in-laws house) was long over-due. On a weekend, we decided to finally visit them. Agra, being a tourist place, left the blogger in me exhilarated and intrigued. I had already googled enough about the famous city that boasts of hosting ‘One of the Seven Wonders of the World’.
We left at 7.00 in the morning to avoid the heavy Delhi traffic. Uninterrupted, six lane and 165 km long Yamuna expressway was a thoroughly delightful experience. We had tea and snacks at one of the tolls. Being weekend, it seemed that the entire Delhi was vacationing. It took us around 4 hours to enter Agra and another 1.30 hours to reach our house due to the dilapidated state of roads and mismanaged traffic. We almost ended up crashing into a bull, which suddenly came in front of our car, on the middle of the road.
My Mother-in-Law had cooked some finger-licking lunch which we gulped hungrily. After resting and chit chatting for a while, we decided to explore the famous city. My husband suggested that we travel by tanga to enjoy the ancient feel attached to it. Our tanga man proved to be the best guide. He took us to have the world’s yummiest Chaat-Guys you cannot get anything more spicy and piquant than this (still, I am biased towards my Lucknow chat!) With tears in my eyes, I savoured two plates of golgappas. Once done with the delectable chat, the foodie in me relished ‘Panchi’ ka chocolate petha to put my burning mouth back in shape!
We started our journey with the monument of love – The Taj Mahal. We were wise enough to carry a bottle of water as it was too sunny. We were frisked for sharp objects and any possible weapons. The guard asked us to remove our shoes and wear shoe masks. There, the grand edifice stood tall. It was an astounding and wonderful experience. Anyone with some level of aesthetic sense would be induced by this superlative piece of architecture. It was undeniably clear as to why it is said to be one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. The architecture, designs intricately carved on white marble, Koran quotes precisely engraved were remarkable and majestic. I romantically urged my hubby to get me something as a remembrance to which he giggled (ughh). After admiring the breathtaking view and getting numerous pictures, we left for another monument – Agra Fort.
Agra Fort or Lal Qila, a UNESCO world heritage site turned out to be imperial. It’s gigantic and imposing structure was worth exploring. The elaborate wall paintings were phenomenal. It had two gates – Amar Singh gate and Delhi Gate (it is out of reach for general public). There were lots of stairs which left us panting. It is said that Aurangzeb imprisoned and deposed his father Shah Jahan in this fort and he died in Mausamman Burj with a splendid view of the Taj Mahal, where his beloved wife rested in peace. The fort hosts so many marvelous structures like Sheesh Mahal, Moti Masjid, Meena masjid, Diwan-e-khas and Diwan-e-aam. Sheesh Mahal famed for its tiny mirror like glass mosaic decorations was incredibly artistic. Unfortunately despite being a tourist attraction, the fort was in a pitiful state and demands good renovation and regular maintenance.
But have any of our trip accomplished without shopping! Agra is known for marble handicrafts, leather-ware, brass jewellery, carpets and shoes. On day two, we commenced our shopping spree with Sadar Bazaar. It was hugely crowded but had some really good collection of shoes and handicrafts apart from some delectable food. We tried ‘Bedai Aloo’, a delicacy of Agra which was just delectable. We also bought a few pair of shoes and marble handicrafts after hefty bargaining (as you all know, I am genuinely good at it!). It had a fairly large number of foreign tourists as well. It was disheartening to witness local shopkeepers deceiving them by charging exorbitant prices. Setting a bad example of ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah!
In the evening, we decided to explore Mehtab bagh. This convoluted built mughal garden is a must visit. Though it was under restoration, yet it provided a mesmerizing and uninterrupted view of the Taj Mahal during the sunset. It was quite clean, maintained and symmetrically laid. We strolled for a bit and clicked the most amazing pictures of the monument of Love against the backdrop of the orangish sky.
We also strolled around nearby markets and called it a day after having a sumptuous meal at Anchman, a fine dine restaurant and called it a day. Our short trip enabled us gain insight into the historical architecture and marvels of this city and left us yearning for more.