Getting Papped At The Taj Mahal: Agra, India
The worry when visiting world wonders, is that the reality won’t live up to the hype. I can safely say though, that India’s most famous symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, is one that completely lives up to its status. My first glimpse of the white palace is from the window of Agra’s Red Fort, once the home of the Emperor who had the Taj Mahal built in honour of his deceased wife, to house her body. Against a background of misty green fields and trees, the pure white form of the palace stands tall and majestic, and I literally have goosebumps at first sight of it. No picture can do justice the beauty of the Taj Mahal.
For the record, Agra Fort is impressive in itself. Made of red sandstone, and containing multiple rooms for the Mughal Emperor’s many wives and girlfriends, the history and architecture of the place well warrants a visit. It’s where our fifth day in India begins, and whilst we wait for our local tour guide, one of the guys in our G Adventures group smokes an e-cigarette, sparking the interest of the (many) guys approaching us to sell paintings and rugs.
It seems that e-cigarettes aren’t yet known in Agra, because the locals’ eyes widen in curiosity and excitement as they observe this new way of smoking. One of the gentlemen politely asks if he could give it a try, and generously our friend offers the e-cig to him. It quickly gets passed around the group, and a burst of laughter and bargaining to buy the item erupts. Unfortunately, our friend has only the one with him in India, so can’t sell it on, but if there’s anybody reading this that’s in the vaping business, you might have a market there.
Anyway, back to the topic of this blog post; the Taj Mahal. After a glimpse of it from afar we can’t wait to see the palace up close, and that afternoon as dusk begins to set in, we make our way through crowds of mainly Indian people, to enter the Taj Mahal attraction via the embarrassingly prioritised ‘foreign people’ queue. Once inside, we go our separate ways to explore the gardens and admire the white marble of the mausoleum up close. It’s busy, and getting pictures without ten other smiling faces in the background is basically impossible, but regardless, I’m completely blown away by the stunning setting.
Photos of tall white people
While Dave and I steal opportune moments to take a half-decent photograph, we start to notice that the Taj Mahal is not the only thing worth papping here. For a lot of the visitors, foreign travellers are just as exciting, and we find ourselves the focus of a lot of cameras. One guy even strolls right towards me with his phone in front of my face, but doesn’t utter a single word. Is this what it feels like to be famous?
Joining up with the rest of the gang to watch the sun set behind the immense white marble, it seems everybody is having the same level of interest. We’re approached repeatedly by groups of both men and women to have pictures taken on their mobile phones. It’s incredibly flattering and an amazing opportunity to speak to some of the people directly. One of our group is Irish, so with pure white skin and gorgeous red hair, she receives a huge amount of attention – at one point she actually finds herself signing people’s hands with her signature!
As night falls we’re all feeling very humbled and in awe of such a beautiful place and such warm and welcoming residents. We round the day off with an alfresco dinner at a local restaurant, munching on naan bread and curry, before heading to bed ready for another early start in the morning. Besides Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, Agra has nothing else worth sticking around for, in fact it’s a place with a very uneasy vibe to it. So, we’re headed further east to Orccha; a small, less-visited town where we’ll take a couple of days of respite. Read the next post to find out all about it!
Want some tips and advice on travelling India? Leave a comment below or send me a message here. I’m always happy to share!