A monument to love – the Taj Mahal

4 am and cold. The train just arrived in Agra where we’re headed to visit the Taj Mahal. The train ride had been a bit exhaustive, not so much because of its 25h, but rather because of the alcoholic British couple in their 50s who decided to turn the GOA EXPRESS into an emotional roller-coaster. We switched to Russian and moved with our polish friend up to our 3rd story beds watching the scene from above. Lesson: Appreciate the moment, it can always get worse πŸ™‚

We left oyr bags at the cloakroom and went on a hike over to Taj Mahal. Three hours till it opens and once it does (after almost five) and you master the ridiculous frisk and sexurity check (no drawings today, yesterday ok. All electronics to store in a locker far away outside the entrance) the site is amazing. Architecturally outstanding the symmetry of the whole park with the tomb being on the same axis as the entrance gate a kilometer away. The arabic inscriptions become bigger towards the top so for the reader on the ground the size looks the same despite the perspective. Stunning. We were glad we invested 750 rupees each (locals 20) of which 500 supposedly go to some Agra development fund. Badly needed I’d say as Agra is about the roughest patch we’d seen so far. It’s also unbelievable how something as marvellous as the Taj Mahal can be so poorly managed with mountains of trash right outside its walls. Sorry, the German inside me is breaking out (as it does often in India – and my mom can attest I’m not exaxtly obsessed with cleanliness).
Back to the train station, quick look up to the notification board. Most trains to Delhi 4h away pass through here and after days of journeying across India they’re a few hours late in Agra on average so we just hopped ob one that started moving and the military kindly made some extra room for us πŸ™‚