21 Dec 2014

Chintu Travels: Day 2, The Wonder Mahal, The Fort, and the Tomb.
20th December 2014

It was a pretty good day, I had my fair share of the city, I did pretty much all I wanted to except covering Fatehpur Sikri, I lost a lot of time because of the President of Bangladesh deciding to visit the city in my presence. The day was full of some amazing photos and events, and ending the day at Zostel by decorating the place for Christmas.

Agra has surprised me as a city, I thought it would be a place where people would be trying to con you(There was a conman who sold the Taj Mahal thrice, so the doubt was obvious) but, the people are really helpful and warm.

So, the day started with the Taj Mahal, I woke up early and decided to take a walk to the Taj,  One of my co-passengers in train told me to try the Badei Kachori, he said it's one of the best snacks of Agra. I did try it, but maybe the place wasn't very good, it was really salty and spicy. I had to take some tea and biscuit to get rid of the taste. The tea seller turned out to be a great person, he enquired a lot about the Kali Ghat Temple in Kolkata, he has been saving up to visit the place. He gave me the directions which would make touring the city optimal on foot.

The Wonder

The Taj Mahal is almost the entire economy of Agra, all restaurants and hotels refer to it in some way; I entered the mausoleum from the East Gate, the place is too crowded and getting a photo which doesn't exist already is very hard, but I think it was my lucky day. I got a decent one. Though I had to hurry out of the taj, because of the security lock down for the Bangladesh President. 

The Fort

I got out of the western gate of the Taj Mahal and decided to take a walk for the next 4 Kilometers to the fort, as expected the fort was very crowded. Taj Mahal and The Fort are the two most visited monuments of the city, and the President was supposed to visit here too. It usually takes a couple of hours to get a decent tour of the fort, it is big, very big. 

The Tomb

I met fellow travellers outside the fort, they had started late in the day and since the Taj and The Fort were closed they had no Idea about what to do next, I wanted to visit a couple more places and taking an auto alone was going to be very expensive, I told them about the Tomb of It -Mad -Ullah AKA the Mini Taj, and the Mehtab Garden, which the being the only place from where you can get a decent view of the Taj mahal, we took and auto, I bargained and got the driver to half the price, the tomb is a much calmer place than the Taj Mahal, though not as well maintained as the Taj Mahal, 

While returning back to the Zostel, the auto driver gave us a deal, we had to walk into a shop and stay there for at least 5 minutes and he'd give us discount of 50 Rs on the agreed fare. I asked him about the catch, he said they get a commission from the shop for bringing customers, me and the other guys told him that we won't buy anything, he said, buying isn't required, we just have to stay inside the shop for 5 -10 minutes. We agreed. and reached our place cheaper and happier. 

There have been a few setbacks to the plan and the Original Motto of 10 days 10 Cities isn't looking feasible anymore, but hey everything going as per plan doesn't add the much-needed thrill to the life.