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gloriajames Agra - A travel report by Gloria
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Agra,  India - flag India
8335 readers

gloriajames's travel reports

The Taj Mahal Love Story

  24 votes
Page: 1 2
Agra is home to one of the 7 modern wonders of the world which tells the greatest love story written in marble. Come join me as I share with you the epic.


Taj Mahal on the bank of Yamuna River
Taj Mahal on the bank of Yamuna River
The world famous TAJ MAHAL stands on the bank of the Yamuna river and was built as a tribute to a beautiful woman and as a monument of enduring love.

On or about 1628AD, Shah Jahan became emperor. Earlier he was married to a beautiful muslim Persian princess Arjumand Bano Begum who came to be known as Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor bestowed his beloved queen with the best of both worlds. On 1631AD, the emperor embarked upon an expedition accompanied by his wife. On the way there his wife died giving birth to their 14th child.

Prior to her demise, she extracted 4 promises from the emperor, ie:-
1. to build the most beautiful monument for her;
2. not to remarry;
3. to be kind to their children; and
4. to visit her tomb on her death anniversary.

Hence, the story of the Taj Mahal began when the emperor decided to fulfill his wife's last wish. Construction began and it took 22 years and as much as 20 000 people to complete it and costing nearly 40 million rupees and 500 kg of gold. The white marble monument was designed in perisan style with exquiste carvings and gemstones truly a momento of love with the perfection of art.

Favourite spots:
Entrance to Agra Fort
Entrance to Agra Fort
AGRA FORT

This red sandstone building is located 2.5kms from Taj Mahal at the bend of Yamuna River. This fort was built by Emperor Akbar as a stronghold for the Mughal Empire around 1565.

You begin your walk through the impressive Amar Singh Gates which will lead you to the colonnaded arches of the Diwan-i-Aam. Marvel at the polished stucco pillars topped by peacock arches. Move on to the Royal Pavilions which were designed to catch the cool breeze from the river. This was where Akbar's ladies of the court spend their time taking in the sights. Next visit the Diwan-i-Khas or the Hall of Private Audience and admire the architecture. End your walk by heading to the Khas Mahal or the Private Palace which is flanked by two golden pavilions and where the emperor met his court.

Spend your time admiring the wonderful architecture and take in the sights of the Taj Mahal from the fort.

What's really great:
Courtyard of Fatehpur Sikri
Courtyard of Fatehpur Sikri
Is FATEHPUR SIKRI - a ghost city?? Why? Let me tell you.

Located 37 kms from Agra is this red sandstone imperial city of the Mughal dynasty. Built by Emperor Akbar around 1571 to 1585 AD, the only flaw in the city plan was inadquate water supply. Hence the city had to be abandoned after 12 years of residence.

Nevertheless, Fatephur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. The mosque is said to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca and had designs both of persian and hindu architecture.

Once you enter this world heritage site, you are surrounded by sheer opulence. Akbar created a world for himself where he could live in style as seen from the beautiful gardens, palaces, harems, and bathing pools. Inside the complex the major points of interest are the Panch Mahal - the palace of Five Storeys, the Dargah Of Sheikh Salim Chisti - where childless women come for blessings, the Buland Darwaza - the largest gateway in India, the Palace of Jodha Bai.

Sights:
A poetry in love written in marble.
A poetry in love written in marble.
The must-dos when in Agra are:

1. Head to the Lotus Pool at the Taj Mahal and take a shot of yourself sitting on the marble bench made famous by the late Princess Diana and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai.

2. Buy Taj souvenirs such as Taj keychains, postcards and guidebook from the young hawkers at the carpark, as it would not be possible to get it elsewhere.

3. Security is very tight at the Taj, so please leave behind your cellphone as you are not allowed to take it in. No tripods are allowed in too.

4. Take a horse carriage ride or battery opearted van to the gates of the Taj otherwise it would be a very long walk!

5. If time permits, view the Taj Mahal at different times. Why? The Taj sparkles in the moonlight thanks to the precious gemstones inlaid into the marble. Hence, the Taj looks pink in the morn, milky white in the evening, and golden at night.

6. At the back of the Taj, see the foundation laid down for the erection of a black mosque opposite the Taj.

Accommodations:
The hotel where i stayed.
The hotel where i stayed.
Clarks Shiraz
54 Taj Road
Agra 282001
India
Ph: 2226121-32
email : clarksraz@sancharnet.in
www.hotelclarksshiraz.com

Its a 5* hotel and has about 200 rooms and located just 2km from the Taj! So that means from your room, you will be able to see the impressive Taj, and yes of course, only on a clear no fog day!

Btw... dont leave without 'nicking' the hotel folder which has an outline of the Agra. I thought it looked artful and would keep my photos purchased from the Taj in mint condition. (";)

Nightlife:
This piece is available for purchase at the handicrafts shop.
This piece is available for purchase at the handicrafts shop.
Honestly, I was too tired after my tour, hence I did not venture outside of the hotel but went to the hotel's bars instead.

I went first to the MUGHAL BAR which is a roof top bar adjacent to the Mughal room with an exquisite view of the Taj Mahal. It offered me a perfect ambience to unwind and to relax.

The next day, I only managed to head to KHAYYAM BAR at the lobby! That was how exhausted I was :(

Hangouts:
at a marble factory
at a marble factory
I would truly recommend you to do the following:

1. Go to a marble factory to see how the craft has been recreated in many forms. Be warned, it does not come cheap! I could only manage a US$100 vase! If you go for the exquisite motiffs as seen in the Taj walls, be prepared to pay upwards!

2. Get the latest trend, ie an intricately embrodiered coat which is so in now! You will definitely be a star in any function.

3. Head to the Handicrafts gallery [located at 18A Jasoria Enclave, Fatehabad Road, Agra, Ph: 91-562 330188], and purchase a wall painting, or why not the 'star of india' - a gemstone for good luck and general well-being.


Restaurants:
Anyone Hungry??
Anyone Hungry??
The hotel boasts excellent Mughal cuisine and an international buffect spread. A typical meal would include, the following:-

Breakfast
idli & dosa (though a south indian delicacy, it has grown popular in the north too)
aloo-poori (a potato curry eaten with poori)

Lunch
Shorba soup (containing meat, tomato or vegetable broth)
Tandoori platter (fish, prawns, chicken)
Tikkas (in curry or on skewers)
Aloo-Gobbi (potato with cauliflower or cottage cheese)
Angoli Fish (north indian style)

Dinner
Mulligatawny (dal and meat soup with tamarind)
Naan,
Briyani rice with chicken
Mutton Curry,
Ox tail stew.

Have your meals with sweet lassi, mango lassi or saffron lassi and end with sweet desserts and a cup of masala tea.

Other recommendations:
Decorative motiffs on the walls of the Taj
Decorative motiffs on the walls of the Taj
I thought I should share more of what I learnt about the Taj Mahal with you.

I was particularly awestruck by the decorative elements of the Taj. The works on the marble walls, ceilings are truly a work of art. The motiffs are copied by artisans in present day work.

You will notice the designs of the Mughal dynasty contains lots of flower motiffs. It has also been said that the Florentine 'pietra dura' has been incorporated in the Taj.

When you enter into the Taj monument itself, NO PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED. So be alert and take in the sights as it will have to stay imprinted into your memory. What I particularly liked was the Jaali patterns on the screen at the cenotaphs.

Published on Saturday March 18th, 2006


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Fri, Aug 05 2011 - 07:05 AM rating by adisidh

nice report

Mon, Oct 09 2006 - 05:53 AM rating by mkrkiran

Gloria,

Perfect description that befits such a great place.

K

Wed, Jun 07 2006 - 03:38 AM rating by st.vincent

Fantastic story, great report, I think I must have missed this when you published it.

Fri, Mar 31 2006 - 01:35 PM rating by alfonsovasco

Enjoyed the lecture

Tue, Mar 28 2006 - 03:13 PM rating by mistybleu

A great report, I'm so envious, wish I went there.
Amanda

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 07:51 AM rating by hieronyma

You did it, excellent report. I have been there myself and loved it.
Hieronyma

Mon, Mar 20 2006 - 02:11 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

well my view about tajmahal =tajmahal is a grave for me ,where the deepest sorrow is that people who build such a structure ,instead of getting reward from the king ,their hands were cut in public .this is a shame of taj mahal.
nicely written report gloria

Sun, Mar 19 2006 - 10:17 AM rating by frenchfrog

A brillant report for a great place, it s a wonder!

Sun, Mar 19 2006 - 07:34 AM rating by jorgesanchez

New country that you visit means new 5 stars report that you write! Good!

Sun, Mar 19 2006 - 05:18 AM rating by jesusferro

romantic

Sat, Mar 18 2006 - 05:55 PM rating by davidx

I have come to expect a fine report when I see your name against it - but this is really outstanding. Many thanks.

Sat, Mar 18 2006 - 03:51 PM rating by eirekay

Fantastic Report! Wow! We are staying at the Clark as well, so great info on the hotel! I especially appreciate the menu and shopping tips!

Sat, Mar 18 2006 - 03:31 PM rating by marianne

Gloria,

Another wonderful report, very informative and well-written. I especially like the caption for the photos. How did you do this food photo showing more than one photo?

What did you have for breakfast idli or dosa? I definitely preferred dosa.

After reading your report, I realise that I must visit northern India.

Marianne

Sat, Mar 18 2006 - 03:21 PM rating by rangutan

Another almost pefect and detailed and well balanced and colourful report. A lot of time invested here!

Sat, Mar 18 2006 - 02:27 PM rating by isaacmolina

Very extrange! After two votes, you have only 3 points for this excellent report, but the voters do not show their faces. Of course, I give you 5 points. It has quality, erudiction and good literature value (and also is beautiful reading). Congratulations.

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