Blogs from Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, Asia

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Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 19th 2020

Agra All tours to India would never miss the city of Agra because that is where the iconic 'Taj Mahal' is located. Completed in 1643 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz, this magnificent structuer deserves all the acclamations travelers piled on its reputation, it is breathtakingly beautiful! This 'garden-tomb' was designed to replica a house of paradise. All exterior walls were covered with India white marble embellished with exquisite floral designs. I was told that only 15 families in India have the knowhow of hand shaping the minute pieces of precious stones into petals inlays in the marble. Needless to say that it is a complicated and slow process. When we visited one of the marble workshops afterwards, I couldn't tear my eyes away from these amazing marbles, each rose was inlayed ... read more
Charming in the fog
Magnificent with reflection
Intricate marble inlays

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 15th 2020

India is a country full of contradictory, it maybe the most populace democracy in the world but the rhetoric of Hindu nationalism and the violence against muslim exploded across the nation. As tourists, we didn't confront the problem directly but in discussion with both Hindu and Muslim young women, we got a glimpse on how far apart their lives, their idealism and their hope for future are, there is no easy solution to this complicated issue. India's inequality in wealth were evident in the upscale shops we visited and the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets. Gold and jewelry were highly valued commodity and families spent days and lots of money carefully selecting these items because what a bride wore on the wedding day reflected her worth as well as security guarantees for her ... read more
Young Hindu students we met in the park
Stop Acid Attack!
A surviver of Acid Attach

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 12th 2020

Travel in India, where do we start?! We'd heard of the numerous scams, people telling you " that train isn't running today " that hotel burnt down last week , I take you to mine " We heard them all. We had our train tickets booked and all the hotels too, we just needed to ' join' everything together when we were here. In Delhi a tuk tuk driver dropped us off at ' the government tourist office' . We hadn't asked him to he just did! It turned out to be an agent. A very persuasive one. He looked at our plans so far. He checked the train times were still on schedule and said it was good but he could help by providing a car and driver at each stop. He would collect us ... read more
First breakfast
Big group of Japanese tourists in front of us.

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 12th 2020

The Taj Mahal ! What can I say? It really is the jewel in the crown! We arrived in Agra at 8.30 am and luckily the hotel let us check into our room straight away. After a rest we went out to explore. The hotel was literally five minutes walk away from the West Gate entrance of the Taj Mahal. It was already mid day so we decided we would go the next day nice and early to beat the crowds. The streets here are just as bad as in Delhi. Actually worse but as our hotel was just inside the area that was barriered off and guarded by police it was a little haven. We wandered up and down looking for somewhere to eat. A few places advertised rooftop restaurants with views of the Taj ... read more
Taj Naval before the crowds
Marble archways
Part of the Taj Mahal

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra January 2nd 2020

It's time to leave Beijing to explore Agra via New Delhi. The journey to get there was not at all smooth from Indian visa inspection, luggage check-in to immigration. At the Beijing airport, it took over 3 hrs to get my luggage checked in and over 2 hrs at the Chinese immigration queue. Fortunately, I caught my flights in time to Delhi via Hong Kong, which went according to schedules. I arrived at Delhi airport after midnight and was amazed how quick Indian immigration worked, they worked ten times faster than China. I felt alive as soon as my plane landed. I was free from surveillance cameras, free from internet restrictions, free from expressing my thoughts freely and not mention English is pretty well-spoken in India. I missed my pre-booked airport cab but grateful to have ... read more
The famous Chicken Tandoori
Old Delhi
Old Delhi spice market

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra January 1st 2020

Home to the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, Agra is situated on the banks of the River Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 200klm SE of Delhi. This beautiful city, where the Mughals have left a permanent impression, is rich with India’s heritage and culture. The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a flame, and it never fails to mesmerise. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with magnificent Agra Fort and the deserted imperial city of Fatehpur Sikri. There are also many other buildings and tombs from Agra's days of glory as the capital of the Mughal empire, which we hope to visit. I had bought e-tickets to the Taj Mahal before I left home, timed between 6-9.00am, but after the fog ... read more
The Taj Mahal on a foggy day
Akbar’s Tomb
Akbar’s Tomb

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra January 1st 2020

The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honour of the Persian princess Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved third wife, who died in 1632 while bearing their 14th child. He poured his energy into creating for her the most beautiful tomb ever built. The complex also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself, and the Taj’s stunning architecture has made it one of the most iconic monuments in the world. It took around 20,000 artisans and 1000 elephants twenty years to build. The white marble stone is inlaid with floral details carved from precious gems. In places, the stone is carved into delicate screens called pierce work so that visitors can see into the next chamber. All of the floors are inlaid with patterned stone, and incised painting in abstract designs adorns the ... read more
The Taj Mahal Tower
The Taj Mahal corner detail
The Taj Mahal

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra December 31st 2019

We got an early start today, probably too early, as it was still dark and foggy when we arrived at Monkey Temple. We decided to have a look anyway, as we were here, though we couldn’t see much. The place was filthy, the ground covered in monkey poop and littered with banana skins, and a lone cow wandered around. The monkey residents were just waking up, fighting savagely amongst themselves and screaming into the early morning air. We had to use a phone torch to light our way up the steps and didn’t stay long. Just as we were leaving, the call to prayers started over the loud speakers. Yep, definately time to go.... Located 10klm east of Jaipur in a town called Khania Baslaji, but only a 15 minute drive from downtown Jaipur, this series ... read more
Monkey Temple
Lone cow at Monkey Temple
Castle Kanota outdoor area

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra December 30th 2019

Some of the most stunning architectural structures in India are to be found below ground, these are the stepwells, or ancient water stores. Stepwells are unique to India and from around the 3rd century CE were built throughout the country, particularly in the arid western regions. Over the past couple of weeks we have had the privilege of visiting several of these fascinating structures and today we visited the largest in Rajasthan, Aberhani Stepwells. It will feature in my next blog, but I though I’d give a little more information on just what a stepwell is..... Excavated in order to reach the water table, the purpose of a step well was simple - to provide water all year round. But they also fulfilled other functions. They offered pilgrims and other travellers a respite from the heat, ... read more
Krishna Market Stepwell, Hampi
Temple stepwell, Hampi

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra March 5th 2019

Agra Fort was built in the 1500’s and is really a walled city... completely beautiful and AMAZING! it was home for Shah JaHan who built the Taj Mahal... which you can see from the windows.... read more
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