Day 2 – Agra & the Taj Mahal
After a well–earned sleep we awoke ready for a day of exploring and sightseeing. It was amazing to see everyone come down for breakfast in our traditional Indian dress, the colours and designs of the kurtas (tops) were even more fabulous than in the shop.
Following our breakfast, we boarded our bus for the day for our 4–hour journey to Agra, the original capital of India. Although we were leaving Delhi at 6am there was still such a hustle and bustle about the city, it could have been a peak time in the middle of the day. It was great to be able to travel during the day and see the countryside, people on the fields and the sheer beauty of this country. From the last stages of the bus journey we were able to get a glimpse of the Taj Mahal in the distance, this added to the excitement on the bus!
Before going to the Taj Mahal, we had a quick coffee pit–stop and met our lovely (and very smiley!) tour guide for the day, Manoj. He made us feel so welcome and provided us with all the information we would need about the day. As well as being reminded to top up the sun screen and drinking plenty of water – it was HOT!
Walking through the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal and seeing parts of the bright marble through the gaps in the crowds of people added to the anticipation of seeing this wonder of the world in all its glory with our own eyes. There are really no words to describe the picturesque masterpiece, it was so amazing to see. The King had built this for his wife after her death to be her final resting place. She died shortly following the birth of their 14th (!!) child. It took 20,000 men 20 years to build and the descendants of the workers of the Taj Mahal still live in the grounds. The history and story of love behind the Taj Mahal added to its beauty.
We were treated to a beautiful lunch near–by and had an hour or two to recharge our batteries before seeing Agra Fort in the afternoon. Manoj had told us the story in the Taj Mahal about the King wanting to make a replica Taj Mahal in black for his own resting place. The Prince, who didn’t want his father to ruin and bankrupt the kingdom, arrested him and placed him in Agra Fort as a prison. It was great to experience both places, as well as having a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal from the Fort.
Once we had been immersed in Indian history it was time for our bus journey home. Once again by the time we reached our hotel it was straight to bed. We have a day of travelling tomorrow, to reach the Himalayas. Something we are all very excited about!
Claire McErlean, St Mary’s CollegePosted in College Team – April 2018
on Sunday 8 April 2018