The Taj Mahal—a monument to love? More like a monument to excessive love. Maybe the Buddha chap was right with his Middle Way gobbledygook—even with love.
Fairness, unlike in the Fair and Lovely ads, isn’t a virtue in Agra. Foreigners, which in this case largely mean Americans and Europeans—didn’t really see people from other parts of the world there—have to pay Rs. 250 to see the Taj Mahal while we only have to pay Rs. 20.
The complex is inundated with them, though.
The guides have a merry time too, taking them for a ride and I just don’t mean financially; I over heard one guide telling a group,” …and then he bought her (Mumtaz Mahal's) ashes here and had them buried.”
Even the chap who looks after the shoes—you have to too take off your shoes when you enter the debauched king’s tomb—fleeces them, selling them a sort of “shoe covering” which allows them to walk into the tomb without taking their shoes off.
Some people say that the beauty of the Taj Mahal is “indescribable”.
Those people are right.
The Agra Fort, built by Akbar, is grand, if unkept. Most parts of the fort though, are occupied by the Army and are out of bounds to visitors which I find rather absurd. Apparently the Army recruiters weren’t joking when they promised a King’s life in the Army.
The largest crowd puller in the Fort was the diwan-e-aam. A look at it should explain why:
By the way, the set designers of the movie did do a good job, I'd say. It's pretty much identical to the real thing.
The Akshardham temple in Delhi, on the other hand, scrupulously follows the instructions laid down by its co-dharmic cousin.
The temple, apparently the largest Hindu temple in the world, built by the numerically minuscule Swaminarayan Sect, had this board at its entrance:
[Click to Enlarge]
Now that’s what I call a middle path—short skirts and burkhas banned.