At 5:30 in the morning Satish picked me up to go to Agra.
When we left was still dark , but I was lucky enough to see the sunrise along the green fields of the highway ( it was raining but still very nice) :
The ride was very smooth , there were little villages along the way and for some weird reason I was amazed at the buffalos and cows along the way :
Yesterday evening , dear Chapal was explaining me why the cows and buffalos ( they have the same status) are considered sacred. He said that the cow/buffalo represents the mother nature ( nurtures) and is also the favorite animal of some of the Indian Gods. The Buffalo was introduced in India as a milk producer ( it produces double the amount of milk that a cow does). Hinduism is a very interesting polytheistic religion , there is very good and reliable information at :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism , here you can get all the answers you seek.
After about 1 and a half hours of driving I asked Satish if he was as hungry as I was , so we stopped at a Hotel to grab a bite. I had a great Chicken Sandwich with Chai Tea and orange juice ( with chunks of fruit in it…a bit strange). Teh hotel was very colorful , lots of elephants in different sizes and shapes around and outside, a real elephant that I couldn’t see.
We continued to Agra and we arrived around 10 , there are around 200 km between Delhi and Agra.
The city was very nice , the areas around the Taj Mahal are very well maintained. Satish first took me to pick up his friend that was going to be my tour guide.
His name is Pradeep , and besides being the nicest guy on earth he knows lots of history. Later on I will post his e-mail address so that you can reach him if you ever go to Agra. We took a little tuk tuk ( is a usually three-wheeled cabin cycle for private use and as a vehicle for hire )
that took us directly to an office where the driver got the entrance tot he Taj ( approx. 750 indian rupees), along we the entrance I received a bag with a postcard, a bottle of water and slip covers for my shoes. We started to around the Taj Ganji that is a big plaza right before the entrance to the main garden and the Taj. Is all constructed in red sandstone. In the past the Taj Ganji was a bazaar and a caravanserai. There is an official web page of the Taj Mahal where you can get lost of information and maps : http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/
Then , we started walking down the jilaukhana that is basically the place for the assistants of the tombs and 2 subsidiary tombs. At the end of the jilaukhana there is an arabic arc that perfectly frames the Taj. This was the first glimpse of it I had. I just fell this rush to continue walking to get a closer look…. by the time I reached the Charbagh garden ( long garden just before the tomb) I was totally mesmerized.
This fun adventure will be finished on the next post.
Thank you for reading…