Adventures at home, abroad, and online

Taj Mahal

Due to the inavailability of train tickets over the weekend, I ended up going to Agra alone on Monday. James will have to come back with some other tourist friend. Agra is an industrialized city, with little to offer other than the Taj, the former capitol at the Red Fort, and a few other tombs. As a result, the tourist trade is incredibly aggressive and pushy, vying for the foreigners that come in on the morning train. I tried to avoid some of this by getting a prepaid taxi for the day, but this only resulted in my being taken to several “art gallerys.” I ended up lugging home an inlaid marble chess set and some other goodies. Being an inexpert bargainer, I probably paid more than I should, but that always seems to be the case.

The Taj Mahal is probably the most well known piece of archicture in the world, but that doesn’t stop it from being breathtaking in person. What pictures don’t indicate is just how big the thing is. The standard shot with the reflection in the water is taken from quite a distance away. As you get closer, the 52 meter onion dome looms overhead. The place is crawling with tourists, but they seem to stay on the central axis of symmetry. Getting off to the side, I found a nice bench to take a nap in the shade. I tried to stay until sunset, but clouds loomed and the light faded around 5.

At the Taj
Serious curve
Clearing storm

I spent a few hours in the train station pestered by mobs of small children, giving money to cripples. Call me a sucker, but 10 rupees means nothing to me, and is food for a day for someone else. James says it’s counterproductive, and he’s probably right, but I still can’t bring myself to just brush them off as well as some of the other tourists can.


Qutb Minar




  1. kali

    great shots, josh!
    i’m unbearably jealous but will buy you as many beers as it takes to hear all about this when you’re back. deal?

  2. Dr Seuss

    Oh, the places you’ll go! The Taj is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Great decision to go to Agra by train. Because of the lack of infrastructure, the drive from Delhi is the most frightening experience ever.

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