North India. Report about trip. (part 1: Agra)

Taj Mahal
I bought a ticket to New Delhi and left there in February. Have to say that this is the best time to visit India, because the weather is not so hot at north of country nor at the south. This time I decided two weeks to travel the following route: Delhi – Agra and its surroundings – Jaipur – Varanasi – Delhi.

Day 1-4: I visited India three times. But in Delhi, I never walked, except for the main bazaar, where, incidentally, lot of interesting. Delhi has always been a staging point from which you can ride on all four sides.

To Agra I was getting by train, where at that time lived my friend, studying Hindi. The distance is about 200 km (125 mi), 5 hours by train, the fare is quite small – about $7.

Fort of AgraIt is well known that all regions of India are very different from each other. It is believed that thieves come from Agra and that in Agra living most unfriendly and rigid people in India. Incidentally, in India in some places (especially in Agra) is still a very strong tradition, when the parents choose the groom/bride to their children. Especially if the family is more or less wealthy. I do not know about the thieves, but a great friendship, I really did not notice. But there are doing a wonderful tomato soup, paneer and tandoori chicken.

Agra FortAgra of Mongol era in India is truly gorgeous. When there is a mixture of architectures, in this case – Hindu and Muslim, this gives excellent examples of this art.

Agra Fort – is beautiful clear example of mixing styles and cultures. Red sandstone, from which the fort is made, passes into the white marble, carved facades interspersed with open galleries overlooking the city. Strong and thick walls allow repel enemies, and gate erected at right angles to repel attacks on elephants. View of the Taj Mahal, which opens on one side of the fort is worth capturing.

Fatehpur SikriOne day is devoted to “the ghost city” of Fatehpur Sikri (in translation – Hail Victory). You can reach it from the center of Agra by bus, the road will take about 40 minutes. Emperor Akbar built for himself this capital city with the red sandstone in 1585, but 15 years later the city was deserted, because there was no drinking water. Well-preserved palace of the emperor keeps the legends and stories, and the feeling that was abandoned only recently.

Hail VictoryThe town stands on the town, until you go up to him, at least ten times guides will offer their services, saying that they are just students and you don’t have to pay them money. I got the bait of a fraudster who took me around and around the palace, inventing different stories, as a result, the day passed, and as it turned out, the main place that was a hundred meters, I did not get. I visited the mosque and almost preserved ruins of the city.In the Fatehpur Sikri But the main palace of the emperor’s throne, the rooms and the treasury, I have not seen. Guide detained me in every way, saying that the last bus had gone, and I can not get out of here. Then he let a tear, thanks to me for tips (which are equal to the average monthly salary of the Hindus), but considering that it is too small for him. Fortunately, everything ended well, but for me this place was undisclosed. And later I wasn’t using services of such “guides”…

Taj Mahal front sideAgra crown and, in principle, of whole India is Taj Mahal. It really is huge. Its scope stagger the imagination, the closer you approach it. Very majestic. But the main problem – a lot of people, to take pictures without them – have yet to try, besides, the crowd did not give a possibility to relax and enjoy it all. When I was there, was awful rain, but it didn’t really stopped me, not counting the stained lens. Insane spectacle of the Taj opens at night, but remember that it will be visible only when the full moon.

Before entrance the metal detector, phones taken away, so if you do not want to stand in a long queue to luggage storage, you need to leave them in a hotel or somewhere else.entrance of the Taj Mahal

Some legends say that the Taj Mahal was built by 20,000 masters and 1,000 elephants 22 years, then it was decorated with paintings and precious stones. Shah Jahan built it in honor of his wife, that died at the birth of their 14th child. For himself, he wanted to build a tomb of black marble on the opposite side of a river. There is also a legend that after the completion the Shah ordered to cut off the hands of all masters so they never have been built Taj equal.

On both sides stand in front of the Taj mosque and a guest house – also an impressive building. In India in general are all very impressive.
Mosque near the Taj Mahal

Admission is $15 (may already be more expensive because it took a couple of years), and the most expensive attraction in India. Of course, it’s worth it.

In the vicinity of Agra is Vrindavan – one of most sacred spot for Hindus. As legend tells, here the young Krishna flirting with the cowherd, the majority of Hindu temples dedicated to him. There is also an international center of Krishna, where crowds of pilgrims come from all over the world. Foreign youth in the center more than Indians. They walk in robes like a hippie and participate in the hymns dedicated to Krishna. In addition, they are engaged with a public-useful job.Vrindavan

Crypt Itemad-ud-Daula is standing right in the middle of the Persian fleet. Inside, the walls decorated with splendid mosaics, you can also enjoy the elegant decor. The park has a large number of monkeys, and better not to tease, as they rush to take away from your food directly from the hands.