Short Trip to Agra, Mathura & Brindavan

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Firstly, this wasn't a vacation. I had to go to Delhi (actually adjoining Noida) for a business trip. It was fully sponsored by my firm. So I stayed in a 5-Star hotel (Hotel Raddisson) and travelled by Kingfisher Airlines(the best in India). In fact, it was a high-pressure 11 days work and I was keen to go back to Mumbai.

From a few colleagues, came to know that Delhi has a lot of quick weekend escapades like Dehradun, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Agra etc. I chose Agra, Mathura and Brindavan and booked a packages tour on Jan-26-2008. Jan-26 is Republic Day of India and in the national capital Delhi it is celebrated in a grand way with all military parade and a lot of shows etc. However, since I was late I couldn't get a pass for it. So, I chose to get away from Delhi to see Taj Mahal and spiritual places like Mathura and Brindavan en route.

Our trip started as early as 6:00 am. The tour guys came up with 2X2 bus of which I got a window seat in front.
Made a few friends on the bus. I usually like the country-side -fields and farms. So the entire bus journey on Grand Trunk road was delightful. The weather was a perfect sunny winter morning. However, when we got in Agra we were informed that due to French President Sarkozy's visit Taj Mahal is not available to the public for sometime. The French President was the guest of honor for 2008 Republic Day.
The tour operator quickly changed their plan and we headed to Agra Fort after lunch. This was really magnificent. And I liked this Fort more than Taj Mahal. It seems that Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal for his deceased beloved wife, was put under house-arrest in this Fort during his last days by his son Aurangzeb. Most of the Fort was built using Red sandstone and I found it to be an opulent and grand structure with full show of power.
Next we headed towards Taj Mahal and what I found was a complete mess. It was a crazy rush of people who had been waiting over there and we were completely clueless about where to go to get an entry ticket. I never expected such a crowd. I suppose there are 4 gates - North, East, West & South and each had kilometer long queues of people waiting for hours. We entered from one gate which had a narrow lane and we trespassed the queue bringing in wrath of public and security personnel. But had we been in that queue, I am sure we would have missed our bus. Once we entered we saw more people and all I wanted was to take some pics and get out of there. After a long struggle we somehow managed to get inside the tomb, walked around took some pics and got out.

Mathura and Brindavan
After an agonizing Agra visit, Mathura - Appearance place of Lord Krishna and Brindavan were truly divine and completely spiritual. Visited the temples, took blessings of the Lord and ate the famous butter and Rabdi-a milk sweet. I will be visiting these places again and will stay for a pilgrimage.

My thoughts on Taj Mahal
I do agree that Taj Mahal is an artistic and architectural heritage. But I din't find it to be a Monument of Love. In my view,Taj Mahal is an example of Mughal monarchical cruelty. Slabs and slabs of marbles cut and carved to embed finely cut stones. These all activities were done by poor artisans and laborers. One who has seen it will only know that how much hard work would have gone in creating it. Each pillar, each ceiling, floors full of minute patterns and artwork would have taken so much effort and patience from so many people. And at the end of it all, the Emperor rewards them by chopping of their hands so that the tomb he built for his deceased wife can never be belittled by anyone else!
Is this love? I don't think so.

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177 km (110 miles) traveled
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photo by: peeyushmalhotra