After my terrible trip to Rishikesh I sworn to myself I wouldn’t be traveling in a while and that I wanted to stay in Delhi for a few months. But that quickly changed when I was invited to go to Agra on a Sunday to visit the Taj Mahal, so I chose to forget about that bad experience and without thinking twice, I decided to join the adventure.
I went to spent the night at my friend’s on Saturday in order to wake up early to leave Delhi around 7 am on Sunday, this time, in a comfortable car without bouncing chairs and only with 6 passengers: 3 Indian guys who are colleagues of my Colombian friend, my friend, her polish roommate, and me. The driver told us we could play songs from our Ipods so we started the morning with reggaeton songs and some playlists that included Shakira. One of the indian guys gave us ice cream for breakfast, which made us extremely hyperactive after half an hour. We were dancing and singing salsa and Bollywood songs during the rest of trip.
We arrived in Agra by 10:30 a.m., sadly the town is by any means organized or clean and it is a little hard to believe that one of the seven new wonders of the world is located there. We made a quick stop to grab delicious naan before heading to see the magnificent Taj Mahal (finally!). On the way to the Taj Mahal, we spotted monkeys on the rooftops and camels lying next to the road, and I know I should be used to it by now, but it is always so weird to see these animals just hanging everywhere.
When we arrived to the entrance of the Taj Mahal, we were assigned a guide who turned out to be the most chatty of all, and we couldn’t help to feel annoyed after only a few minutes. The guide kept insisting on showing us the places we were the least interested in, and somehow he managed to keep on skipping the most beautiful things of the tour. After the security check, we walked trough a beautiful hall in red stone, with several doors on each side, which leads to the entrance of the first mosque. The minute you step there and turn to your right, you are able to see the Taj Mahal for the first time.
As I said in previous posts, my decision of coming to India was a tiny bit impulsive. I have never been that person obsessed with Indian culture, who loves yoga, who wanted to come to India to experience the culture, but somehow I am here now, doing all of that, and I’m loving it. So besides what I learned in school and my general-culture knowledge, I wasn’t that crazy about being able to visit the Taj Mahal, because this particular destination seemed so far away from Colombia, and I barely thought about it when growing up.
But when I saw that building, standing there, being so stunning and white that you can almost go blind, it took me a second to really believe I was there. I got goosebumps, almost shed a tear and kept repeating to myself “Wow, I can’t believe this”. But there I was, in the Taj Mahal, right in the middle of Asia, in one of the most iconic places of the world, seeing it with my own eyes, when only a few months ago I never truly consider it as a destination to visit anytime soon. The Taj Mahal was never in the top in my bucket list (was and still is Jerusalem), but, damn it! how wrong I was. Now that I have visited it and seen how BEAUTIFUL it is, it has become one of those destinations I could visit every year if I have my way. Would be worth it every time. Every-single-time.
The day I visited the Taj Mahal, was extremely hot and humid, and the fact that I was wearing a long elephant-printed skirt wasn’t helping (nothing but shorts was going to be helpful). I could feel the sweat running down my legs every step as if I was taking a shower, and I even got my forehead sunburnt because I didn’t wear anything to cover it (huge mistake). The amount of people visiting the Taj Mahal that day was INSANE, but it is normal for the most popular monument of the country, especially on a Sunday. To be honest, I didn’t care that much about the people or the heat. I was so happy and thrilled to be there. If you have any doubts about visiting India, just this place, only this one (even if there are hundreds of other beautiful destinations in India) is worth the trip. Seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time is an image that will stay with you until the day you die, and, at least in my mind, is one of the most beautiful images I will cherish during the rest of my life.