Saturday, August 1, 2009

Agra Day 2

The next day of the trip was set to Agra where we wanted to see the world famous Taj Mahal(obviously :P). We took the wide NH 8 ( correct me if i'm wrong) via Gurgaon to reach Agra. The drive in on the AC Indica was very comfortable with the road sliding smooth under the rubber. Though we were sitting in the AC, the weather god showed signs of an unbearably hot day under the sun. After a bit of talking, songs and drowsing.. We stopped in between at Sikandra to pay respects to Muhammud Jallaluddin Akbar ( thanks to Ashutosh Gowarikar and Jodhaa Akbar ;) ) anyway, we stopped there and went around the tomb of the great man. I was shocked to know that he was about 5 foot 4 inches tall with a blackboard dark complexion. My image of Hrithik as Akbar got destroyed the very minute! :( The place was again beautifully maintained with lush green all around the place. One of the few places on the trip where i saw deers moving about in good numbers. The acoustic design of the palace explained by one of the many broken English speaking guides, was really very impressive. I also came to know that Sikandra was a mass burial chamber with some more tombs of his daughters and few more people. Oh yeah, one more thing i came to know about mughal tombs was that, the male tomb had a kind of projection on the top to signify the gender. The females also were buried there only because they died bachelors. After testing the Wall to Wall Wireless Voice Transmission System(WWWVTS! Just kidding...!!) we moved around the place which was built to signify Akbar's love for art and his tolerance towards various religions, we moved to the inner chamber where his tomb was... We had to pay some money who made a long and loud prayer by singing something in some incomprehensible language... Which i assumed was some pre-historic Urdu(!) We then moved onto Taj Mahal, the biggest wonder of India and one of the seven wonders in the entire world put together. No matter how great the place is, and no matter how many people visit it each day, its a pain in the ass to get inside the premises of the Taj. After parking in a lot which was about 3 KM from the gate, we took a camel ignoring the more comfortable electric auto. The camel needed a wash and the fellow who was in-charge needed to keep his mouth shut. X( After a really stinking and uncomfortable ride on the rickety, underfed camel ( I felt bad for the poor thing!) in the 12 o clock sun, we reached the main gate of the complex. The security and everything was fantastic, keeping in view the terrorist threats the monument was under. After we took tickets for ourselves, our digital camera and video camera, we proceeded to the metal detectors. It was here that i lost my patience. I forgot to take out my mp3 player as i got down from the car. I tried to convince the guard that i was not carrying a bomb or any kind of explosive. He remained adamant and i had to walk all the way back for a kilometer, so that i could deposit it in a safety locker.(Phew..! It was hot!!) as the bag mood bugs started running into my blood.. I vented it by shouting on the many people swarming around me, trying to convince me that there was stuff here that you couldn't dream of buying elsewhere. We then came to the grand gate of the Taj. Before i could take in the beauty of the marble marvel, More people swarmed around us, this time photographers, trying to show us the many fancy stills one could possibly imagine with the Taj in the backdrop. My uncle being a NRI was convinced that the photographer could take better pictures than me with a 8 MP camera (I am Jack's broken heart!) I was surprised to notice that he didn't use zoom on his pictures for some strange reason. After some fancy photography with sexy Taj in the backdrop, we proceeded inside the Taj with the sun draining the life force out of our bodies at an amazingly fast rate. Few hours later, the visit to the Taj was complete and we were on our way back, this time taking an auto for obvious reasons! We had lunch at three in some so called fancy south Indian restaurant where they didn't know the difference between Dal and Sambar(!) We ate slowly so as to delay the exposure to the sun for a second time. So, at around four thirty we made our way to Agra fort. One of the places i liked the most on my previous visits. By this time, the heat had taken its toll on my NRI bro and he was already too tired to walk. Since i was an ATV (Any terrain Vehicle) ;) i could still walk and take video's. After a fairly cursory look at the place, we got back into our more comfortable AC Indica and made our way back to Delhi. To prepare for day 3 &4 in Haridwar and Hrishikesh which i've never seen before. Little did i know that, they would turn as sour as any of my hoidays could've become...

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