North India Diaries: Two

From Delhi, we did the expected pilgrimage to Agra. But not before sincere, vest-wearing Jagdish, whose car had been hiccuping the day before, called to say that its battery had been stolen from the shop where he had taken it the previous evening. He seemed, in Jagdish fashion, deeply apologetic for having had his car ruined and therefore ruining our itinerary. I tried to assure him that it really wasn’t a big deal since his car service had already set us up with another driver and car but he seemed pretty despondent at letting us down.

The new chap was pretty much the anti-Jagdish: brash, cocky, and a lead foot. Entertaining enough, but you wanted to send him to his room for a time-out every once in a while.

Our first stop e-route was at Akbar’s tomb, which the emperor designed himself. It’s a fascinating space, with deer grazing in the gardens, crumbling domes lined with huge honeycombs, and Akbar’s stark tomb in the center of the complex contrasting sharply with the ornateness of the rest of the buildings.

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From there, it was a drive to Taj Mahal, which is admittedly spectacular.

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The evening sun painted it a shimmering yellow and the minars glimmered in the fading rays. It is undoubtedly evidence that architecture can be poetry that has assumed physical shape.

Surprisingly, the Agra fort is almost more awe-inspiring, both for the poignancy of its purpose–it served as a prison for Shah Jehan, who built the Taj–and for its sense of a lived space.

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We missed out on visiting many other sites in the area–Fatehpur Sikhri, Bibi ka Maqbara, the Taj at sunrise–but I suppose I’ll be returning at some point. Unlike the Trevi, however, there are no coins to be flung in fountains to guarantee a return journey.

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One Response to North India Diaries: Two

  1. shalaka says:

    Taj Mahal was too crowded,unorganised for such a touristy place..Maybe we went on a Sunday(wrong choice)..Missed the Agra fort..But would love to visit it–hopefully in peace and less crowd…
    We had an awful experience from Taj Mahal to Fatehpur Sikhri– Almost 5 kms before Fatehpur Sikri a mob of 7-8 men posing as registered tour guides stop the car and are kind of threatening you to hire one of them..The driver at this point is quiet as his life is at stake.he has many trips to be done in future..After kind of escaping thru them once you reach the final destination your are again mobbed by their chelas (whom they have contacted thru cell phones–result of technology) and then you see kids of 7-10 yrs willing to tell you the history of the place @ Rs 5-10.This is the irony..After this experience we just lost the enthu of seeing the place.

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