Home > India > Agra – Prelude to the Taj or India’s biggest secret.

Agra – Prelude to the Taj or India’s biggest secret.

The four hour journey from Delhi to Agra passed quick enough, with the main highlight in the flat part of the country, being the convoys of combine harvesters. We asked Sukhdeep about them, apparently they trundle 600km from the north to cut the fields in the central areas for 2 months and then return, doing the ten day journey 3 times a year. We could not believe it made sense to drive these beasts 600km 6 times a year.



Eventually, we arrived at the outskirts of Agra and stopped in at the tomb of Akbar in Sikandra Fort. As with all things in India, it was a place of superlatives, a place to be seen to be believed – it is the kind of place India has in spades, and we have to keep pinching ourselves to believe it is real.

As we see more and more amazing buildings, all at least 400 years old, it is easy to become a little blasé – a little numb to the sheer volume of beauty, but as with Qutb Minar, the scale of this place and the fine detailing is a combination surely unique to India. This place also benefits from far fewer visitors than it’s much more illustrious cousin down the road, the Taj Mahal.

We pushed on to Agra itself to make a visit to the fort, ostensibly to take pictures of the Taj at sunset, but the fort must surely be the most under-rated monument in the guide books. Again – Agra’s Fort is simply amazing. The scale of the red sandstone walls, massive yet delicate cradling the white marble palace inside is an architect’s delight – it is a little like the red fort in Delhi – but so much better. The planning internally like a mini-city, and again, the carving and the detailing with its Persian influences a delight. I know I keep going on about it – but it really is very, very good.

Often  the case in India, extreme beauty comes hand in hand with extreme poverty, the other side of the coin is that most of the rest of Agra is a bit of a traffic congested dump. Cows, stray dogs and children picking through the litter, the pollution hanging heavy in the air, the hagglers and money changers on the corners – it all points to a society that does not really care for itself. To us it does not feel like a happy society, but one fighting to stay ahead at the expense of others; surely if India is to progress, addressing the wellbeing of the society as a whole, the gap between rich and poor, it’s health and it’s education must be a priority.

Categories: India Tags: ,
  1. Bambula Indijana xxx and kiwi Pauli
    March 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Many years ago, I took an amazing BW photo of Taj Mahal from the Other side – a barb wired dried out river bed that was filled with rubbish, anorectic camels and barefoot kids looking for food. That was the sad reality and the other side of the Greatness of Taj Mahal. The side that will always stay imprinted in my memory next to the long colourful line of monument-driven tourists – mostly Indian, posing by the well carved chunk of marble.

    As always… be safe…

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