Today was a very long day for us. Our plan for today was to visit one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. We had booked 10.10 AM train to Agra from Delhi, assuming that our Manali bus would reach Delhi by 9.00 AM. But, our assumption was wrong. Our bus reached Delhi at 6.30 AM itself. Train was from the Nizamuddin Railway station. After getting down from the bus, we took an auto to reach the railway station. By the time, we reached the station, it was only 7.30 AM. We had around three more hours to go for our train. We did not have any idea how to spend 3 hours. We did not want to book any hotel just for 3 hrs. We could not roam in the city as we were feeling tried and it was tough to carry the luggage. We decided to spend our time in the railway station itself.
At around 8.30 AM, we had breakfast in a hotel called “Comesum” at the train station. We got Dosa and Idli to eat which was pretty good. We spent some time in the hotel chit chatting. The weather was becoming hotter and hotter. Thilak checked for the waiting rooms in the station, but the rooms were heavily crowded. The price of the AC dormitory was 200 Rs/person. Both of us did not want to spend so much for 2 hrs and more than the money, the rooms were not that neat. The non AC waiting room was free of cost, but there was no place to sit. We washed our face and brushed in the waiting room and waited outside. We had a very bad luck that day, because when we checked the train arrival time online, we got to know that there would be a delay of 1 hr. If we had known this earlier, we could have booked a hotel. But, now we did not have a choice. Luckily, both of us did not get irritated. We started watching people. There were people who had many small small bags, they were having their home food in the corridor, women were dressing up in front of many unknown people in the room. I guess they were all used to waiting like this in train stations. While we were waiting, we started playing rock, scissor, paper and the time passed soon. This is the advantage of being with loved ones.
At around 10.30 AM, we went to the platform and started waiting there. The announcement also told that there would be a delay in our train. Finally, the train arrived at 11.30 AM. We felt so relaxed after we got into the train. It was an express train and Thilak had booked AC sleeper coach. So, the journey was comfortable and nice. We were crossing many famous places like Faridabad, Mathura, etc. We felt happy to see those places.
We had not booked any hotel in Agra, but we found out from the Trip Advisor rating that a hotel called Taj Plaza which is pretty decent hotel and within our budget. We were supposed to get down at Agra Cantonment (Agra Cantt) railway station, but Thilak found that our hotel would be near to Raja Ki Mandi which is a station before Agra Cantt. So, we got down in Raja Ki Mandi station. Our bad luck for the day continued. When we were checking with the autowalas about the hotel, we came to know that, it’s Election Day in Agra today and most of the hotels, shops, and places would be closed. The number of autos also was less and almost all the shops were closed. The autowalas were asking 200 Rs to come and they did not know the place also. Finally, one autowala agreed to come to hotel Taj Plaza for 150 Rs. The hotel was around 8-9 km from the railway station, so we thought 150 Rs would be worth paying. We checked with the driver if Taj Mahal would be open today. The driver was not very sure. Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays and today was Thursday, so we had to visit the Taj Mahal today itself at any cost. Our main intention of visiting Agra was to see Taj Mahal and now we were not sure if we would be able to do that or not. When we were crossing the Agra Fort, the driver told us that Taj Mahal would be open today as Agra Fort was open. We felt very very happy. On the way, we could see the jhalak of Taj Mahal. The driver told us that Taj Mahal would be open till 7 PM which made us feel relaxed. The Agra city was very well maintained.
Our hotel was in a walkable distance from the east gate of Taj Mahal, so the vehicle entry was restricted. Only cycle rickshaws and electric vehicles were there. The driver dropped us near the east gate and we walked and searched for the hotel. The temperature was around 40 degree and luggage was too heavy. I was finding it very difficult to walk, but looking at Thilak, I got the inspiration. He was carrying a much heavier bag than me. Because of election, the road was empty and security was too high. The place was too calm.
We walked for around 10-15 minutes and finally reached our hotel. The hotel looked good from outside. The rent for one day was 650 Rs. We agreed for that amount. We checked in the hotel at around 3.30 PM. The room was neat and clean. We took bath very quickly, had our lunch, and started for Taj Mahal at around 4.30 PM. We enquired with the hotel owner about where to collect the entry tickets and went to the ticket counter as he suggested and took the entry pass. The entry fee was only 20 Rs. Both of us were shocked to see such a less entry fee for such a famous monument.
Instead of walking, we went in electric vehicle till the east gate (we had to buy a separate ticket for the electric vehicle which was only 10 Rs). The crowd was very less as it was election day. We suddenly felt lucky for coming on this day :-). The place inside the gate was huge and it was amazing. The main gate of Taj Mahal was too good. Once we entered the main gate, we could see Taj Mahal. The view was extremely beautiful. We took photos and started walking towards Taj Mahal. The place was very very neatly maintained. Though the weather was hot, cool wind was blowing. We saw Yamuna river flowing behind Taj Mahal. The marble art inside Taj Mahal was extremely skillful. The art on the marble was not just paintings, but the different colored marbles were cut to make those awesome designs. We could see the beautiful sunset near the Yamuna river at around 6.30 PM. The art inside the Taj Mahal was spectacular. We took lot of photos, sat for some time, and left from there at around 7.00 PM.
We walked from Taj Mahal to our hotel. There were many shops on the way. The main attraction was marble showpieces. Almost all shops sold these marble showpieces. We could not decide what would be the genuine shop and what might be the real price for these items. So, we just did window shopping and came back to our hotel. Both of us were very tired because of the journey and the weather.
We had an adventurous day today. Moving from cold Manali to extremely hot Agra in a day was an amazing experience. Though we waited for long hours in the train station in such a hot weather, we had a great time. Getting to know about the election and becoming uncertain of visiting Taj Mahal was thrilling. And finally, the mesmerizing Taj Mahal made us forget all the tiredness.
- Route Travelled: Delhi (R K Ashram Marg) > Nizamuddin Railway Station > Agra (Raja ki Mandi) > Taj Plaza > Taj Mahal > Taj Plaza.
- Photos: Taj Mahal Photos