November 9, 2010

Sonia asked me to write about my experience at the Taj Mahal. And I don’t know what to say.

The first time I saw it, from the rickshaw taking me from the station to the hotel, my heart stopped beating for a second. But to tell you of the hour and half that I spent around this amazing palace is difficult.

It’s huge and imposing and beautiful. It’s all made in marbe, with beautiful inlay works on all the walls. Semi-precious stones create stems and petals. It gives such a sense of freshness that you feel the urge to hug it.

There are loads of people, at any time. I was at the ticket office at 5.45 am, the office opened at 6 am, I was the 6th in line, but they opened the gate of the palace only at 6.30 and at that time there was a crowd already. It was impossible to take a picture with no people.

For foreigners entrance was about 13 euro, for Indians 0.30. Why isn’t there something similar in Italy? I wuold surely visit more museums here too.

On Friday it’s open only for muslims that wish to pray. There’s a mosque inside its walls, on the left of the Taj.

taj mahal in agra

The Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1653 by emperor Shah Jahan as tomb for his second wife, who died giving birth to their 14th child. Nice thought.

Other sites in Agra: the fort and the Baby Taj

In Agra the most famous building is certainly the Taj mahal, but there are at least two more interesting monuments that I visited: the fort and mausoleum Itimad-Ud-Daulah (also known as Baby Taj).

The red fort was built in 95 years, it’s a fortified citadel and a Unesco Heritage Site since 1983.

A curiosity about the fort: in one of its towers was incarcerated Shah Jahan, the man who built the Taj Mahal for his wife; he was imprisoned here for 8 years, until his death in 1666; from here he could see the Taj Mahal, where his wife was resting.

Itimad-Ud-Daulah is where is buried Mizra Ghiyas Beg, a persian nobleman whose daughter, Nur Jahan, married emperor Jehangir. It was Nur who had the mausoleum built for the father, in the same style in which she built the mausoleum for her husband, near Lahore in Pakistan.

It was the first Maghul structure to be built completely in marble, and the first tomb along the river Yamuna.

New friends in Agra

I must stop telling people where I’m staying. Tonight a boy came looking for me.

We spent many hours talking earlier today, he told me he’s got a girlfriend, that they love each other very much but the parents don’t know about it because they come from different castes and they wouldn’t approve. But they want to marry; he will finish university first, find a job, and then he will tell his parents.

He asked me for help because she doesn’t want to have sex and he would like to know what he can do to make her change her mind. Nothing dear, until she’s ready.

I don’t know if he hoped I could help him, in the meantime.

It’s a bit annoying, because you can’t relax in your own room. So no more info around. And I will have to say that I am traveling with my family and that they are waiting for me at the hotel for dinner or something like that.

I don’t know if I can do it, it’s difficult to lie for me. But I have to.