“A teardrop on the cheek of eternity”, “The embodiment of all things pure”, “The sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes” are all phrases that describe the greatest symbol of love that the world has ever known-the Taj Mahal. Considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, lakhs of tourists come down to Agra to catch a once in a lifetime glimpse of the Taj Mahal.
And we covered it in 25minutes.
They say unplanned trips make for the best memories. What they don’t tell you is that “best memories” can be a best bad memory, or a best good memory. Either way, you’re stuck with this memory forever, and well, you learn to laugh along.
A business trip to Delhi gave us a few hours in hand to do…well, nothing. And guess what yours truly, a mad(wo)man bitten by the travel bug decided to do?
Me- Let’s go to Agra!
*sees a sparkle in the boyfriend’s eyes. Immediately assumes it to be a YES YES YES!*
Done. Let’s do this. We leave in the morning by train, let’s get back by bus by early evening. It’ll be easy.
What followed was a grueling 2 hours trying to book tickets on the IRCTC and Goibibo apps, with payments failing and seats getting filled and tempers running high. When we finally managed some success with the bookings, we were a bit too pleased with ourselves, so we never bothered to go through our schedule.
Cut to day of travel.
5:30 am- take an Uber to Nizamuddin Railway Station from Dwarka
6:40am – reach Nizamuddin railway station
7:00am – leave for Agra by train <under the assumption that we will reach by 9:45am because that’s what the Dilliwale told us>
*9:50am : the panic kicks in
10:15am- reach Agra Cantt
10:30am – on the way to the Taj Mahal in an auto for 40 bucks (haggle. These guys rip you off.)
<The gates to the Taj Mahal are ALL.OVER.THE.CITY. Leaving us confused AF>
10:45 am – Bro drops us off at some “gate” where the tuk-tuk bros attack us like vultures. We haggle some more and get a ride to the South Gate for 30 bucks. We then stop by for the baggage counter which was 700mt away – thank God the boyfriend is a sprinter.
11:00am- I’ve successfully managed to purchase a ticket and the boy has already taken his place in the queue to enter the Taj Mahal. The woman’s queue is empty.
11:25am- we spend a minute admiring the Darwaza. Then sprint in.
11:27am- first glimpse of the Taj Mahal
Goosebumps. Breathless. Heart skips a beat.
11:29am – we’re quickly walking towards the monument through the gardens.
“OMG so pretty” etc etc
Boyfriend – It’s okay if we miss the bus, if we have come here let’s see the whole thing.
I chuckle because the Taj Mahal has finally managed to impress the boy who wasn’t keen on traveling in the first place (eyeroll- he had the sparkle in his eyes!) I am also feeling super guilty because he was nice enough to come with me, so I am basically too overwhelmed to respond, so I smile.
Me- We have 15 minutes now
We have just entered the main area of the monument.
We have 10 minutes with us
Quickly walking around this humongous monument, looking around, etc etc (no time for pictures!)
We have to leave in 5
Boy decides to check out ALL the chambers inside the Taj Mahal. I decide to hyperventilate.
come, let’s leave
And we ran. We ran through the stairs leading down from the Taj Mahal into the gardens. We ran across the grounds as the most beautiful monument in the world watched us leave.
We took some boomerang videos.
Me- YOU take them! I can’t. I am not tall enough.
Ok don’t hide me, take me also in the goddamn video!
Ok this is not how you do it. Let me.
You’re too tall you’re blocking the Taj Mahal.
We successfully managed THIS
And then we sprinted some more (500mt) <Realised how much I’ve taken my sports bras for granted when I go for my runs. Could have outrun the boy if I had been wearing one then>
12:05pm- we’ve collected our baggage, and are on our way to the main road in a cycle rickshaw.
12:15pm – we find a nice Sardar who agrees to take us n 100 bucks to the bus stand which was SO.FAR.AWAY.
12:50pm- we didn’t miss the bus!
1:10pm- we have both successfully managed to doze off in the bus.
4:00pm- Woken up for a late lunch. Beyond mind-orgasmic food is gobbled up within minutes- gobi ke paranthe and some delish Hakka Noodles.
5:00pm- INA, Delhi.
(I have a headache)
Things I’ve learnt from this trip-
- Impulsive plans might not always work. But that’s okay.
- Learn to live in the moment.
- Delhi to Agra does NOT take 2 hours by the Taj Express, no matter how convincing a good looking Delhi guy sounds.
- Agra Cantt- Taj Mahal is not a cake walk. You need an entire day to check this place out, so come prepared. Not like I am coming back – I’ve had my time here, and I don’t think I want to brave the crowd to visit again. So no regrets. Plus I hear the smog has made things really difficult now. If I ever have to go back, I’m probably going at 6:30am when the gates open, or one of those 5 nights the Taj Mahal opens at night during the full moon (limited entry)
- You might get really fed up with each other, you might want to throw things at each other, you might want to punch each other in the face, but here’s the thing- their presence makes you feel like home, and that’s all that you need, no matter where in the world you are. As cliched as it may sound, I got my love story at the Taj Mahal :) (hope he got his >.<)
Here’s to my “favoritest” trip of ours :)