Kami bergerak dari Varanasi ke Agra menaiki keretapi, dan bertolak pada pukul 6 petang. Sepatutnya kami sampai Agra pukul 6 pagi, tetapi sebab the train was delayed on the way, we arrived Agra somewhere around 11 am.
Which is dah lambat.
So, nasib baik kami tapau food from Sha Chicken Hut and makan dalam train siap siap, so kami takpayah susah susah cari kedai untuk breakfast di Agra. Sampai je di Agra, kami terus cari cloak room and letak barang kat sana. Time tu agak kelam kabut lah, dah lah barang banyak (semua sebab beli banyak saree cantik kat Varanasi) and masa pulak dah terhad kan, so memang akan terkejar kejar.
Di Agra, kami tak plan nak pergi banyak tempat pun, sebab since kitorang dah overspent di Varanasi, so kitorang kena berjimat di Agra. Dalam kepala masing masing time tu, cuma perlu sampai Taj Mahal je. Kalau sempat pergi tempat lain, it would be a bonus.
Tapi dalam hati I, I teringin nak pergi Fatehpur Sikri. Kalau you guys duduk Agra dua hari maybe sempat lah kot. Sebab Fatehpur Sikri tu despite it's only 40km away (in maps) from Agra city center, tapi it takes almost 3 hours to reach there by car. So, memang kitorang takkan sempat lah ke sana sebab plan kitorang, Agra only day trip sahaja. Pagi sampai, malam tu terus naik train pergi tempat lain.
So lepas kami letak bag, kami pun keluar dan terserempak dengan pemandu teksi dekat luar cloak room tu. Nama dia Sameer. He pretended to help, tapi sebenarnya dia dah nampak lah kami ni memang potential customer and dia pon sweet talk lah. Memandangkan kami ni pulak desperate, sebab takut tak sempat nak menghayati kecantikan Taj Mahal, maka kami pun setuju nak naik dengan Sameer ni.
Sameer offered 3 or 4 places to go with the price of Rs 800 (you guys can bargain cheaper if you want) which is around RM56. Kitorang terus ambik lah sebab senang dah ada orang tunggu, plus naik kereta so cepat sikit sampai tempat yang kitorang nak.
Sameer dropped us dekat depan Western Gate of Taj, and from there we decided to walk all the way to the counter. Kalau nak naik rickshaw pun ada kat sana, and it will cost you around Rs. 100 to Rs 200. And like I said before, we have to be cautious with our money, so we opt to walk.
Kalau jalan pun actually takde lah jauh sangat, dalam 5 minit je dah sampai.
Anyway, most people nak sangat tengok sunrise kat Taj Mahal ni (which is actually our original plan if our train tak delay) but the perks of going to Taj Mahal in the afternoon is that orang tak ramai. Kitorang tak payah beratur panjang pun boleh terus dapat tiket sebab kaunter yang opened for foreign tourist takde orang beratur langsung!
Tix nak masuk Taj Mahal cost us Rs 1000, sebab harga pelancong kan so it's okay. Then, lepas we purchased the tickets, we proceed to the locker room untuk letak barang sebab apparently dalam Taj Mahal tak boleh bawak bags, foods, and tripod. But, selfie stick is allowed. And waktu you beli tickets tu, you will be provided with water bottle. Yes, air je yang boleh bawak masuk ke dalam tu.
In case you wanted a tourist guide, ada banyak tourist guide kat situ yang work on tips basis. Diorang kata service diorang free, tapi kena bagi tips je. And again, sebab kitorang kan cheap skate, we don't bother to take tour guide at all. Better google je lah kalau nak tahu apa apa facts.
So, nak masuk Taj Mahal tu, you kena jalan another 3 minutes to the gate from the ticket counter. Nanti you akan kena screen by the guards there. And no worries, the lines are separated according to your gender and female officers yang akan check you, if you are a female lah.
If they found food in your bags (beg kecik boleh bawak masuk), it would be instantly thrown out, so jangan lah bazir duit beli makanan and see it goes to waste okay. Kalau tengok tong sampah kat situ memang penuh dengan food semata mata.
Bila dah lepas je security check tu, maka bermula lah perjalanan anda untuk menghayati keindahan Taj Mahal, lambang cinta Shah Jahan terhadap isteri ketiganya, iaitu Mumtaz Mahal.
|The first gate you'll find upon entering the compound|
Sebenarnya ada lagi dua gate untuk masuk ke Taj Mahal ni. Western gate ni selalunya digunakan oleh foreign tourist. From my reading, most people said it's usually crowded with people but maybe sebab kitorang sampai pun dah tengahari kan, so memang takde problem lah.
Thing about Taj Mahal is, it is so majestic tau. Majestic gilaaa yang you masuk compound dia je, you dah rasa meremang macam..biar betul kau ada kat sini. Ha macam tu.
I rasa, kalau you ada interest in architecture, or you memang take architectural course, you'd appreciate Taj Mahal more. Sebab semua benda kat sini symmetry. Honestly, I baru tahu Taj Mahal ni famous sebab dia sangat symmetry! And every inch of the structure tu memang dibina dengan sangat intricate and details okay.
Sebagai contoh, tengok half dome dalam gambar Western Gate tu, the inside so cantik it creates optical illusion when you see it
|The inside of the half dome|
Cantik kan? Majestic okay. So intricate.
Then, when you walk past the gate, this is what you will find:
|Tugu Cinta, Taj Mahal|
Too bad, tiang satu lagi tengah under maintenance pulak. Tapi Taj Mahal tetap maintain gah dah cantik.
Bila I tengok Taj Mahal ni kan, honestly rasa macam sebak and terus rasa romantis. Gituh. I can only imagined lah how much Shah Jahan loved his wife sampai sanggup bina structure macam ni demi nak mengabadikan rasa cinta dia terhadap Mumtaz.
By the way, kat sini memang ramai gila orang ye. So, agak susah lah nak ambik gambar solo kat sini. Mesti ada orang punya kat background. Kalau nak cantik, kena cropped lah bagi cantik.
So, lepas dah puas ambik gambar kat luar ni, kitornag pun berjalan masuk ke dalam Taj Mahal itself.
Untuk masuk ke dalam, you ada dua options:
- Tanggal kasut and kaki ayam
- Pakai shoes cover that is provided to you the moment you bought your tickets
So, kitorang of course lah opt to wear the shoes cover tu kan. So nanti, waktu jalan masuk tu you takde lah mengotorkan Taj Mahal tu nanti.
Kat dalam Taj Mahal tu, we are not allowed to take any pictures because kat dalam tu is the makam where the bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan disemadikan bersama bersebelahan.
Sebenarnya, original plan untuk Taj Mahal ni, sepatutnya body Mumtaz je disemadikan di makam ni, tetapi lepas kemangkatan Shah Jahan, anakanda beliau decided nak kebumikan mereka bersama sebab dia tahu betapa bapa dia ni sayang sangat kat Mumtaz ni, so biarlah mereka dikebumikan bersama. Anyways, perbuatan anak dia ni (memakamkan mereka bersebelahan) telah mencacatkan sedikit simetri plan for Taj Mahal ni. (boleh further read kat google kalau interested)
Dalam Taj Mahal ni sangat gelap ye, so memang kalau nak ambik gambar pun tak nampak apa apa. So, we decided to spend time outside and just to devour and indulge the beauty of Taj Mahal while we are there.
|One of windows in Taj Mahal that's decorated with Quran verses|
Windows in Taj Mahal ni semuanya dihiasi dengan ayat Quran. Cantik sangat. Fun fact, the verses were written with optical illusion too, so it would appear the same size when you look at it at any angles. Cool kan?!
Basically we spend almost half an hour just sitting kat koridor Taj Mahal tu just to view the beauty that is Taj Mahal. Memang cantik. You really have to really really love that person to be willing to spend that much money (most of the national treasure) to build something beautiful like this. Seriously.
We've spend more or less 3 hours in Taj Mahal. So, around 2 pm, we called Sameer so that he could pick us up and take us for lunch. We went to Rangrezz restaurant. Originally, we planned nak makan di Jahanpanah sebab baca good review and the price is cheaper, tapi tutup pulak. So, we opt for Rangrezz sebab alang alang Rangrezz ni sebelah je dengan Jahanpanah.
Anyways, from Taj Mahal to these restaurants tak jauh mana pun. Around 10 minutes je. Itu pun it actually could be shorter but Sameer tu bawak slow macam makan angin, boleh?
Oh, the traffic in Agra sangat laah chill okay. Tak busy langsung. Nothing like Calcutta. It's so relaxing, kereta tak banyak, takde bunyi honk, sebab tu lah our tour guide pun bawak relax je. Sampai kitorang yang bising suruh dia drive laju sikit sebab kitorang dah tak banyak masa okay.
So, after makan tu, we decided to go to Baby Taj because masa dah tak cukup and we can only choose one place to go je. We decided not to go to the Red Fort because we'll be going to at least another two forts in India, so we opt for Baby Taj instead.
For your info, all the attraction places in Agra is closed by 4.30 pm so, nanti plan wisely okay kalau nak cover every places.
Why Baby Taj? The name is cute kan? Well, Baby Taj's original name is Tomb of I'timad-'Ud-Daulah which is the mausoleum for Mumtaz's grandfather, Mirza Ghiyas Beg. It was said that Baby Taj is the draft and inspiration for Taj Mahal and it's also known as The Jewel Box.
This is the Baby Taj. It's actually a lot smaller than Taj Mahal but the plan is almost the same. It has three gates (if I'm not mistaken) and it has the gardens, same like Taj Mahal.
I noticed colors of Baby Taj ni berubah according to the lightings. In this picture, it looks white as pearl but as the sun sets, the color changes to golden.
|Another angle of Baby Taj|
See, the color changes.
I did not go inside the Baby Taj sebab tak cukup masa time tu. Anyhow, to go in, you'll have to wear the shoe covers, same like the one in Taj Mahal.
Anyways, the ticket to Baby Taj is a lot cheaper. It only cost us Rs. 200 per person. So, definitely a must go to place!
Also, kalau you perasan, the gate kat dalam gambar di atas, pattern dia sama je macam the ones in Taj Mahal. And, Baby Taj is actually was built Mumtaz's aunt, daughter of Mirza, Nur Jahan.
After finished jalan jalan kat Baby Taj, Sameer took us to a shop for us to buy some souvenirs. The shop was quite old, but the stuffs inside were good.
So Farah and I bought Taj Mahal miniatures (kononnya it was made by the same marble as the one they used for Taj Mahal), and chai. Darjeeling tea originally from India. A small miniature of Taj Mahal only costs us Rs. 150 per piece, which is RM10 je. So not bad lah kan.
After done shopping, we decided to go back to the train station sebab our next train is scheduled at 8 pm so we have to get back fast! And by the way, sebab kitorang cheapskate, kitorang tak bagi tips pun kat Sameer, only bayar the fees je. LOL.
We arrived at the train station by 7 pm.
Dekat train, we went straight to the waiting room because apparently our train was delayed to 10 pm. So kitorang lepak lepak je lah. The facilities here pun okay je. Toilet bersih, takde lah kotor mana pun. By the way, kitorang bertolak from Agra Fort Train Station, not Agra Cantt. Ada dua train station kat sana, so decide lah which one yang you nak.
So, pukul 10 pm, kitorang pun get ready lah nak pergi naik train, sekali delayed again to 11.45 pm.
Around 11.45, we heard an announcement saying the train is again delayed to 3 am.
By that time, those yang waiting with us semua sambung tidur. Ada yang siap bukak sleeping bag and tidur like there's nothing to worry about. Some siap bentang kain and tidur macam tidur kat rumah okay.
Ada this one time, there were three ladies sleeping side by side. I assumed they were families. And it was around 1 am I think, and creatures of the night started creeping out. Well, there were rats coming from the toilet and going straight to the bin. I dengan Farah tengok je lah because the rats were across the room.
Then, suddenly, the rats boleh pulak jalan atas muka the ladies! Imagine the horror on our face! HAHAHA! But the ladies just tepis gitu gitu je. Well, tengah tidur kan, mana nak tau tikus ke lipas yang jalan atas muka, ye dok?
After some time, one of the ladies bangun and offered us her place for us to sleep. But, traumatized, we have to decline the offer lah.
Anyways, orang kat sini baik dan peramah okay. Also, very romantic. Kat sini lah I witnessed a husband suap pizza to the wife sebab the wife was busy nursing their 3 months old kid. So sweet kan.
So by 3 am, kelibat train masih tak nampak. And it stated there the train will be arriving at 5.45 am. Time ni kitorang dah mati kutu dah. Nak jalan jalan kat luar, the temperature was 14 degree Celcius. Sejuk gilaa okay, so we just stay inside and main phone je lah, tengok gambar and videos that we took in Taj Mahal and other places.
So, while waiting for the train, we did some math. Our next station should be Jodhpur. And we are supposed to do a daytrip in Jodhpur before hopping on the next train to Jaisalmer. Agra to Jodhpur would take more or less 12 hours. And by the time we arrived in Jodhpur, it would be night and we have to burn Jodhpur.
Anyways, we do not let that bother us for long, so we decided just go with the flow.
By 6 am, after almost waiting for 12 hours, we finally boarded the train to Jodhpur.
So, until next time, more interesting stories await and more wonders to unveil in next destination!