Agra itself is pretty forgettable, but considering the city contains one of the worlds most recognisable sights. It’s not surprising Agra itself is easily forgotten, everyone that comes here is on a buzz about having just seen the Taj Mahal.
The ticket office for the east gate is a kilometre from the entry gate, already the area is swarming with people here to make a quick buck from the tourists still wiping the sleep for their eyes, I was busy wishing that one of these annoying entrepreneurs would be selling tea or coffee. Alas no money changers and unwanted guides mingled amongst the insistent and ignored rickshaw drivers their pre dawn requests for transport and the working horses pulling overladen buggies can be taken by others.
Already crowds are forming under the pastel sky, The queue from the east gate is extensive when we join, well out of the line of sight behind me by the time I enter, I only assume the queues the south and west gates are similar. We are all here waiting for the sunrise call to prayer to echo out over the city and the entry gates to the Taj complex to open, the visitors here like me, queueing before dawn will stream inside the complex all aiming for the same result.
That magical first complete glance of the Taj Mahal, to see the pale morning light falling on marble, collecting the subtle hues of the days beginning. It is this first glimpse that I want to remember, the view that will overshadow the thousands of glimpses taken from other vantages across the city.
A photo or two to capture the memory of the green grass and mature trees in the post dawn light, free from the extensive crowds that will fill much of the complex well before mid-morning. It’s a shame the water features of the grounds are empty, the reflecting pools would he been a wonderful sight to see indeed.
I really could wax lyrical about this beautiful building, but don’t know much is necessary, it’s fantastic, from the marble inlayed with semi-precious stones, the carved marble flowers and screens. All the components have been thought through and all add to the picture, the position on the river banks, the four beaming minarets and the supporting buildings that flank the Taj all reinforce the majesty of the place.
The time I spent just sitting, watching the crowds form, these people, like me all here to marvel at this stunning place, was time well spent, time to appreciate and to ponder. It was an early start, eventually my stomach tells me it’s time to go out into Agra and to face the world.