And the last Saturday, my dream of almost four years came true! All thanks to the two beautifully fun ladies… Arushi and Bhanu [I gotta share your names and please see that the names are enlisted alphabetically and not on the basis of any personal preferences—don’t kill me for this!]
Okay, I was talking of the dream.
The dream wasn’t about reaching Mars or becoming the World-Class model. My dreams are rather simple and subtle; being only a girl next door my dreams are a little weird and a little sincere—one of these was certainly to travel to the “Wah City of Taj”. Yes, so much I wished to travel to Agra.
Not that I should mention this, but every time I told my dearest male friend of this, he did tell me that if ever he would get to accompany me to the place, he won’t bring me back; that he will rather leave me at the place Agra was commonly famous for when we were children! I tell you, boys will always be boys! Girls? They are always compassionate—you ask them whatever and they will put all their efforts into bringing the broadest of smiles to your face—and so my two sweet female friends made a plan and really executed it flawlessly… WOW!
The journey that began by train was thrilling throughout and made a memory to cherish forever. I am not sure if I would ever again have so much fun or this is just the beginning. All I know is that the trip to this city of Moghuls was fantabulous!
Well… to know the history or demographics of the city, you may rather check out Wikipedia. I would talk about the experience we had at the Taj Mahal and at the Agra Fort. Yeah, we visited only these two places and missed out Fatehpur Sikri, which completes the collection of the three heritage monuments, for we had to come back home timely.
Although the excitement was all time high in the morning at four, when we woke up to get ready, the moment we stepped at the Agra station, we three were the free birds all set to go…vroooooom! The delight of being on our own could be seen on our lips and heard in our voices, tinkling laughter… Oh, how much we tried to click a selfie below the Agra Cantt board outside the station despite the sun glowing into our eyes!
After a short stay at a simple restaurant namely Indiana [which had some stunning paintings hung on walls to compliment the entire décor in red and golden and hot cardamom tea to offer], where our driver uncle took us, we started the actual journey to where each soul on the planet wishes to be at least once in their lifetimes.
The sparkling white mausoleum Taj Mahal welcomed us with all the splendour and the stories of eternal love to be told. Almost all of us have grown up listening to this heart-melting love story of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and the Persian Princess Mumtaz Mahal, and probably some of us would have grown up hating the memorial for the fact that Shah Jahan inflicted deaths and mutilations on the craftsmen and architects who designed or crafted or built it (although Wikipedia presents no evidences for this—it says that no evidences exist for these claims).
The red stoned Great gate (Darwaza-i-rauza) seemed to swallow us as we entered into the garden that surrounded the main tombstone. The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads “O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you” [Source: Wikpedia].
Standing at the entrance and looking at the meticulously crafted white marble structure that is been guarded by the four minarets from the main entrance far away, I wondered how it would look on the moonlit night. Would it really look like the ‘tear-drop on the cheek of time’, as Rabindranath Tagore described it?! Or would it, in my words, look like a deeply saddened soul of the Empress, who would have not wished of dying ever, who would have wished of being with her love of life forever, waiting for her saviour to come and take her away with him to the heavens unknown.
I believe this was the Emperor and Empress’ way of being in love with and being beside each other eternally. Yes, Aurangzeb, the son of the Emperor buried his father next to Mumtaz Mahal in the lower level of the tomb.
Each moment that I spent especially in the interior chamber was the reminder of the love that started in 1613 and still echoes through the beautifully carved walls, which are decorated with floral motifs in bright red and green and gorgeous gemstones that sparkle in the dark, and the dome which surmounts the two graves. The vaulted dome above the two false sarcophagi seemed to shield the two lovers’ souls from all the evils and help them rest at peace in each other’s arms. Probably, if the Princess would have got to live a few more years, both the lovers would have spent time playing hide and seek looking for each other through the lattice jalis.
However, the monument is not only the symbol of the passionate love of the king that is been sculpted, over the long years, into the tale-telling marble stones, but also is an abode to many winged wonders who were wandering across the gardens and enjoying the serene and calm ambience making it a more pleasurable visit.
Our two hour stay at the Taj was enchanting; also because we were accompanied by each other who continued to crack jokes, click each other’s gorgeous pictures, and look after each other under the scorching sun. Eventually, at our way out of the Mahal, the dazzling flowers waved at us smilingly.
The Agra Fort was again an experience that couldn’t be expressed in mere words. The red stoned Fort that is built alongside the river Yamuna, stood with its head high as the guard of honour. Even though we spent only an hour at the place, we enjoyed walking beside the neatly trimmed garden into the Jahangir Palace to the Diwan-e-Khas. The large, mighty walls, tower-like pillars, and decorated columns spoke of the valour of the bravest of brave men and women.
Whole day at Agra was a day that I will always remember for all the fun and deep talks that we three had. I will cherish this travel to Agra for the time I got to spend with dearest friends, for the camaraderie we shared.