Monday, 4 March 2013

Agra....home of the Taj Mahal!

We arrived in Agra after our crazy journey on the Indian railway and headed straight to our hotel. I know I've mentioned it before but India really hasn't agreed with me health wise and I was feeling worse and worse as the day went on. I forced myself out of bed the next morning in order to see the Taj Mahal. Obviously, as one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and one of the seven wonders of the world, everyone has seen countless photos of it. My biggest concern was that the reality wouldn't live up to the expectation. This fear proved to be unfounded as when you first see it, it is literally AMAZING. I'm not hugely into art or architecture, nor was visiting the Taj one of my primary reasons for wanting to visit India, however you can totally see what all the hype is about when you see it for real.

The story behind the building, is perhaps almost as famous as the building. A Mughal emperor had 3 wives but his favourite, and the only one who he married for love was the second. She bore him 14 children and when giving birth to the 14th became very ill and eventually died. On her deathbed he made two promises to her...that he would never marry again and that he would build a beautiful mausoleum in memory of her. Both of these promises he kept and hence, the Taj Mahal.

Obviously, as one of the most famous monuments in the world, the site is a true tourist trap...both Indian tourists and foreigners clamour for the best photo spots (foreign tourists at a HIGHLY inflated price- over 100times what is paid by Indians) but somehow this doesn't dampen the inherent beauty of it. Again, we also were treated as something of a spectacle and many Indian people came and posed for photos with me.....I am starting to feel like something of a celebrity. As we left the Taj Mahal, we were going to go to the Baby Taj and to the Red Fort. Unfortunately by this point my illness (dwarved by the excitement of the morning) got the better of me and I went back to the hotel to rest while my Mum went on (see some of her pictures below).

The next morning, I was feeling slightly better (let's pray this lasts) and we went to the red fort, which was another beautiful sight. Agra is a horrible city with a reputation for conmen, violence and filth and it is hard to believe these spectacular monuments sit yards away from the seediness of the city. We then went to a garden to get a further view of the Taj before hitting the road again to Jaipur which is where I am currently writing from. Illness aside, India is proving to be more fascinating than I expected although also infinitely more extreme and challenging. Tomorrow I am fulfilling another childhood fantasy and riding an elephant so stay tuned to find out how that goes!!!


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  2. Hi Rebecca,
    Was wondering whether you had a private email address that I could ask you a few questions on about your trip? I'm planning something similar later this year and would really value your advice! My email is
    Your photos look amazing!!