Agra and the Taj

So much has been said about the Taj Mahal that we don’t really feel we can add anything. Suffice to say that it did not disappoint – we did get up early, arriving at just gone 6.00 am in time to see the sun rise and appreciate the ethereal, floating beauty of the place. We took hundreds of pictures – just a small selection below.

As we hadn’t managed to visit the Red Fort in Delhi due to sickness, we felt we’d better make an effort with the Red Fort in Agra. It was interesting and a nice, relaxed half a day’s visit walking through the pleasant gardens and again checking out great views of the Taj from just along the river.

Red Fort in Agra

One site that we thoroughly enjoyed visiting and would really recommend is the Itmad-ud-Daula or mini-Taj. This is also a mausoleum and is very tiny and quite quiet compared with it’s more famous neighbour. The building is set in beautiful gardens and is a little “jewel box”, also in white marble, but with the most stunning and intricate inlays and decoration both inside and out.

The Itmad-ud-Daula
Beautiful inlaid designs and carved marble screen

A final and important visit in Agra was to “Sheroes Hangout” (www.sheoroeshangout.com), which is an organisation set up in India to support female victims of acid attacks. We had a meal there and got a chance to talk with some of the survivors of this terrible crime. In spite of a lot of government and social action to help improve the lives of women in India, there is still a huge gender imbalance and an assumption of entitlement on the part of most Indian men we have encountered. Don’t even get me started on this huge and thorny subject!!

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