When I learnt about the “Seven wonders of the world” back in school, I was a very proud girl. The thought that one of them was only 300 km away from my city in India.
I’m talking about the magnificent Taj Mahal, located in Agra city. When people say India – they usually relate it with Slumdog Millionaire, poverty, racism, curries, big weddings, and of course no one forgets the Taj Mahal
The Taj is an amalgamation of Persian, Indian and Islamic architectural styles and is often tagged as the ‘jewel of India’. There is a sad, beautiful and a very romantic story attached with this monument. (I won’t bore you with a history lesson – this one is a short and funny version).
The story dates back to 1653 when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was ruling the empire and the governer’s state. He had a very passionate relationship with his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, which comes out obvious from the fact that they together made 14 babies. And without a doubt, no one gave Mrs. Mahal any health or medical advices while she was busy getting pregnant for 14 years of her life. Therefore during the birth of her 14th child – she died. This tragic loss crushed Mrs. Mahal’s husband so badly that he stood over his wife’s dead body and said, “I will build a tomb in your memory. Something that the world has never seen before”. And boy, he did!
Taj Mahal’s completion took 22 years and cost over US$12 million. The aesthetic beauty of this white marble mausoleum is enhanced by its tragic story, which some call a love story. There are two bodies buried in this monument, how is that beautiful love? Doesn’t that make it a graveyard? There is apparently an aura of endless love and passion that surrounds the Taj Mahal. And it is also the recipient of about five thousand visitors – DAILY.
Now you would have noticed my tone towards the end of the last paragraph. Yes that is called sarcasm. Why, you ask?
Well it started about 4 weeks ago when my friend, Tijana and I decided to make a day trip down to the city of the Taj from New Delhi.
(Background: I was in India for 8 weeks on my holiday. Tijana decided to visit me over the break and stayed with me for 20 days. We travelled around Delhi to various other places, Agra was one of them.)
India being in the northern hemisphere, experiences killer winters during Dec-Jan. Before getting on our train, we both fell in the weather man’s trap and believed that our day in Agra would be “beautiful and sunny”. Being extremely delirious and over-dozed on caffeine, we hopped on the train at 6 am. Singing and laughing, we were scheduled to reach Agra by 8 am. That 2 hour train ride converted into 6.5 hours. Due to the train delay and bad weather, we reached Agra at 12.30 pm. Uh-oh!
The “beautiful and sunny” weather prediction spat at us and we were stuck with an extremely foggy, cold and misty weather. Armed with a cotton jumper only, Tijana and I knew that we would regret this day. The monument, that they call majestic and breathtaking, was NOT EVEN VISIBLE. (Refer to photograph)
We had a dirty tobacco-eating-red-teeth guide, whose Indian accent was so strong that I had to translate everything for Tijana. We were mobbed and being touched by weird kids on the street, who were trying to drag us into their souvenir shops.
And then, the anti-climax.
We go the news that our train that night, which would have taken us back to Delhi, was cancelled due to fog and bad weather. Now we were stuck in that dirty city with dirty people.
So we made a rather unconventional decision. We stopped sight-seeing, parked our arses into a coffee shop and drank the biggest cups of coffee.
We were not interested in any love story or tragic deaths. To hell with the “Wonder Of The World”.
We were sick of that city within 4 hours of our stay there. After our coffees, we sat in a taxi and drove back home.
I would possibly label it as the worst holiday experience i’ve had till date. It was tiring, annoying, frustrating, dirty and pointless. As for Tijana and I – we clicked a few photos here and there, made some funny video diaries and had a good laugh about it, the day after.
But my point is that if you decided to visit me in India and request me to take you to the world-famous Taj Mahal – I will sprint far far far far away from you. You won’t be able to find me. I promise.
Meanwhile, enjoy the few photos that I took that day. They aren’t masterpieces, but you can have a good laugh at them. Also, you would laugh more if you do a Google Image search of “Taj Mahal” on a NORMAL SUNNY DAY.
Happy laughing! 🙂