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Travel to Taj Mahal, Agra

By Rick Vermunt
Agra - Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, and an obligation for any tourist traveling India. Agra was also, the city where I was struck by a severe case of diarea, burning like hell because of the spicy food I'm so fond of. The gates of the Taj Mahal open at six. This means that hordes of tourists swarm inside to witness the in all the travel guides oh so recommended famous sunrise: the light is oh so beautiful on the white marble of this mausoleum (the same guides are jubilant about the sunset as well). If only that one cloud....

The Taj Mahal in Agra India, is magnificent indeed. When walking towards it I was approached by a man who pointed me the best spots for taking photographs (for a fee of course, that is). Sjah Jahan was struck with grieve when his wife Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631. So he had the Taj Mahal built as a memorial grave for his diseased wife. It took 20.000 laborers 22 years to complete Taj Mahal. Their son Aurangzeb had his father put next to Mumtaz when Sjah Jahan died himself. Not that his son was a kind man: he locked up his father in the red Fortress of Agra, leaving Shah Jahan to watch the grave of his beloved wife from a distance, till his death before he showed this kindness. Later that day I learned that one guy in our travel company (Jan) had been willing to pay one thousand rupees for the same service!

That travel guide, certainly wasn't going to show his face for the next couple of days. Enough money to buy food for some time to come.

Written By : Rick Vermunt, Librarian, Free University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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