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Old 20th August 2014, 12:16   #1
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Post A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra

So it was the most awaited weekend in recent times when most of the offices were supposed to be closed for four days. 15th August to 18th August.

15th August - Independence Day
16th - 17th August - Weekend (Saturday-Sunday)
18th August - Janmashtmi

Everybody I came in touch with was planning something or the other. Someone was planning to visit the hills, someone was planning a trip to Jaipur etc etc, except me. Reason - I firmly believed that wherever you go, it will be really crowded. Plus this time I was in a lazy mode. I really wanted to relax this extended weekend.

10th August, got a call from Sister in law to check our program for this weekend. She was happy to know that we were not planning to go anywhere or rather we had no confirmed bookings, as this would mean that she can come and visit us for the weekend.

What next - Four days in Delhi or can we spare a day for a long drive. Sister in law, coming from Punjab had never been to the Taj. We thought lets show her - The most popular Indian Monument - The Taj Mahal in Agra. We planned to drive through the Yamuna Expressway and come back on the same day.

This is the sight that awaited us :

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-beauty-taj.jpg

15th August 2014 : After a family get together, we decided that we will start early as the days are humid in the north right now. Captain of the ship ( yours truly ) likes to start early in the day. I told the co- travellers ( Wife and sis in law) to be ready by 0500 hours in the morning.

16th August 2014 : We embarked upon the beautiful and amazing trip which we will cherish for the coming years.

To my utter disbelief, we were on the road by 0535 hours. 35 minutes delay was a pleasure. Usually when i plan to start by 5, it automatically shifts to 6, so I plan one hour in advance for long journeys.
Always!

Gods were happy at us. Reason :

The Beautiful Weather :

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-weather.jpg

The ride :

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ride-storme.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ride-2.jpg

Started at 5:35 am from Dwarka and we could hit the yamuna expressway by 06:15 am. Reached first toll at Jewar at around 7:10. We planned to have breakfast here. Took a half hour break here, had some sandwiches and tea. Daughter played on the swings for a while and we resumed the journey.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-dsc_04511.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-dsc_0459.jpg

Some pictures of the road :

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ew1.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ew2.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ew3.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-ew4.jpg

Its a known fact that the Yamuna Expressway road is smooth and broad. Toll charges from Greater noida till agra is Rs.320 one side. To and from will cost you Rs.640. But if you take the to and fro ticket (valid for 24 hours), it costs Rs.510. Since we planned to drive down the same day, we took the to and from ticket.

The ride was smooth and amazing. The weather was beautiful.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-chasing-clouds.jpg

We reached Agra by 0900 hours. The beautiful view of the Expressway was lost. It was replaced with the National highway which is full of trucks.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-agra-highway.jpg

Reached Taj Mahal parking, about 1 km from the Taj. Understood from the conditions, that its going to be very very crowded out there.

Hired a Camel Cart since my baby loves such rides. The Rider was an experienced talker. Talked us into a lot of products which we could buy from the Meena Bazaar, which is on the way.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-camel.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-camel-cart-driver.jpg

In order to conserve the beauty of the Taj, no vehicles are allowed near Taj Mahal. Only Battery operated Rickshaws, Tongas ( Ghoda Gaadi), Camel Carts and other electric / manual vehicles. No diesel/ petrol vehicle is allowed post the parking point.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-e-rickshaw.jpg

Reached the gate and saw a looonnngg line at the ticket gate. Again checked at the entrance gate and saw an even longer line there. Understood that we would take about 2 hours just to get through these two lines.

A photographer approached us. He offered that he will click 10 pictures for Rs.500, give us the print outs, and even take us through the back gates (They Call it VIP entry) and organize tickets. As per him the rush there would be much less. Agreed!

Well he was right. The rush there was not even 1% of what we saw outside.

We were mesmerized with the view that welcomed us next. I have been here earlier as well, but every time the beauty of the Taj leaves me speechless.

Some pictures :

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-beauty-taj-2.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-taj-1.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-entrance.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-taj-2.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-taj-3.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-taj-4.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-taj-5.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-beauty-taj-3.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-beauty-taj-4.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-grandeur.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-dsc_0525.jpg

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-dsc_0526.jpg

The guide we hired, told us a lot of things about the history of the Taj. Most of them we knew as we had been there earlier. It was a lot of good information for the sis in law as it was her first visit.

Left the Taj at 1230 hours. We had decided already that we will not make the plan hectic by visiting other places. This day was dedicated to appreciate the beauty of the Taj. My pictures might not show even the 20% of the beauty it really is.

We left to have our lunch. Stopped at Hotel Alleviate as I had heard a lot about the good food that its restaurant - Filmy Zayka, offers. The restaurant is built upon the Hindi Filmi theme. The waiters are in different outfits like Munna bhai etc. The interiors are beautiful, the food even better.

Started at 1315 hours from Agra, got Diesel topped up, and touched the expressway again. Really enjoyed the 185 kms stretch till greater noida. Entered Delhi at 1530 and reached my residence by 1615 hours. It was a saturday, so the roads were really not crowded inside Delhi.

All in all it was a great journey and I thanked my ride for giving us a trouble free, safe and enjoyable trip.

A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-storme.jpg
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Old 21st August 2014, 15:44   #2
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Default Re: A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal

Wow! the Taj Mahal is a well deserved 'Wonder of the World' not only for the exquisitely detailed Mughal architecture but also because of the history attached to it.

Just a couple of years ago a few NRI relatives that visited Agra commented that although the beauty of the Taj is unparalleled, the surroundings (read: Agra city) were filthy (in terms of cleanliness and hygiene). How is the condition of the city off-late?
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Old 22nd August 2014, 10:55   #3
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Default Re: A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal

I have been visiting the city once every two years on an average. Except for the lack of space, I really did not find much problems there. During my last visit, May 2013, there was a lot of construction work going on on the main road which connects the highway to the city. This time, it was all good.

About the hygiene and cleanliness, I think the below picture will give you a better idea.
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A day to appreciate the beauty of Taj Mahal, Agra-dsc_0486.jpg  

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