i’m not gonna lie. i knew there was a fort in Agra only because it was mentioned on my tour itinerary — i pretty much only knew Agra for the Taj Mahal.
we did the fort first, and man, it blew me away, especially compared to Delhi’s Red Fort. as a central part of the Mughal Empire, it is also related to Emperor Humayun of Humayun’s Tomb fame — pretty cool IMHO.
but back to Agra Fort — it seemed like the buildings were in a much better condition, and they were grander in scope and design and thus much more impressive. i was constantly “wow”-ing because i had been conditioned for a let-down after my experience with the Red Fort — but much of the architectural detailing and decorations are still visible and inspiring to this day.
i just wish we had more time there! i think i could have spent another 45 minutes. that’s the problem with being on a tour schedule! on the one hand, you have a guide and all the benefits that come with, but on the other, you’re not free to explore on your own and set your own schedule. alas.
ah, the Taj. i was kind of hesitant to get my hopes up because well, i was worried it was overhyped by everyone. after visiting, though, it’s very clearly worth the hype. while i thought there were a lot of people, apparently, the guide said it wasn’t bad (and it’s worse on the weekends; also, doesn’t open on Fridays, keep that in mind). the size of the actual building was about what i envisioned in my mind’s eye, but i had no idea it was so intricately decorated. i’m glad we went in the late afternoon and stayed through the early minutes of sunset. you can see the changing colors and shadows (and dare i say moods) of the Taj as reflected in its white marble. from far away it’s just plain impressive in terms of scope and beauty; up close it’s a testament to the skilled workmanship. overall, though, man, if i could have a mausoleum like this! what a way to show your love, eh?
the latter is the driver’s seat of an “Electrobus” — only battery-powered vehicles are allowed close to the Taj Mahal so you have to ride to and from the parking lot in an old electric bus or a newer elongated golf cart. oh and definitely be sure to go to the guesthouse to the right (or the mosque on the left, same design). it was a nice calm spot with much fewer people than the crowded gardens and mausoleum.