Total Failure when Visiting Taj Mahal

My passionate spirit of visiting Taj Mahal which wasn’t higher than my trifling guts of conquering cold of every drop of water which coming out from GoStops Agra’ shower, had embarrassed myself on a saturday morning.

Needle is exactly on number 7, a taxi which we rented for full-day through sharing costs arrived and the driver was waiting in hostel’s lobby while tightly holding his hands as a sign that he had been hit by a stabbing cold weather in streets.

Do you want to know our white taxi rent fare?….Sure….USD 17.8 divided by four people. So, I had to give USD 4.4 as my transportation budget that day.

Brushing my teeth without bathing, I approached and talked while waiting for 3 other tourists to come down. “No need long time to reach Taj Mahal, brother“, he said first while shaking his head in Indian style to open a conversation that morning. “Nice“, I said while busy fixing my winter jacket and syall which coiled around my neck.

Ten minutes later, his exhaust fumes began to acquiring thick fog along Agra-Bah Road. Sure enough as he said, 15 minutes later he asked us to come down and point to a bajaj with fare about for USD 2.9 to continuing our journey to Taj Majal Eastern Gate. No problem with price because we finally rode that bajaj with all of us….Oh No, we were unpolite tourist….Hahaha.

At 7:30 a.m, tourists queued to hunt for tickets with fare for about USD 7.2.
A ticket in my hand.

What a fool!….Blindly curiosity had closed my logic that morning. Never clearly thought since leaving my hostel that thick fog storm in Agra would perfectly close Taj Mahal courtyard….Ah, I annoyance stood with a long sigh at Taj Mahal entrance. Not able to see anything 10 meters ahead. Only a thick fog which made me slowly freeze.

There was no choice, like it or not, I had to start exploring Taj Mahal with a definite guarantee that I would never fully enjoy its beauty.

I started slowly up the stairs and entering first gate of that famous site. The first gate is named Jilau Khana.

The area around Jilau Khana or often called Forecourt.

What happened was really out of reason. I haven’t finished yet in enjoying Jilau Khana’s red bricks, my automatic footsteps were unstoppable in approaching main building. Taj Mahal like a magnet for anyone who visits it.

Connecting road between Jilau Khana and main gate

Before arriving at main building….About 100 meters later, I reached the grand Main Gate.

Its name is Darwaza-i-rauza or often called Great Gate.

Tourists complaints began to hear while blaming the mist. “I can’t take a picture“, He complained to his fellow friends. Wry smile, I didn’t care about same disappointment.

Look at carvings inside the Darwaza-i-rauza!

Then, where is Taj Mahal main building which is always hunted by world travelers?

Yup….350 meters at north of Darwaza-i-rauza is Taj Mahal location, the tomb of two legendary “lovebirds“. Shah Jahan as the king and Mumtaz Mahal as the “Persian descent” empress who have a extraordinary beauty.

Not long, I immediately put a shoe cover then I got ready to entering Taj Mahal

Shoe cover will be given when buying a ticket.

Like the commonly mosque, Taj Mahal is equipped with four minarets on each side. The greatness of Mughal kingdom is reflected in every inch of Taj Mahal which composed from white marble which was specially imported from Rajashtan and sapphires which was sent from Sri Lanka.

Minaret as high as 40 meters with a cylindrical wall.

Another intriguing thing when visiting Taj Mahal was when each visitor regularly walked to follow a path which had been made by officers to enjoy each side of Taj Mahal main room where Mumtaz Mahal tomb is located. Three heavily armed police closely watched every visitor. Sometimes they gave order to some tourists to immediately move because taking photos for a long time could make a path to be stuck.

Taj Mahal wall.
Taj Mahal window.
Beautiful art of calligraphy in Taj Mahal.
Not bad….Than not at all.

Such is the fact, the 372-year-old Taj Mahal is indeed charming. No wonder, 4 million tourists are interested in visiting it every year.

After enjoying Taj Mahal, then I immediately retreated and returned to eastern gate for approaching taxi which was waiting for me.

I went back east….Which way did you choose to go back?

5 Agra’s Tourist Attraction in 10 Hours

SEVERE……….

A fog storm in northern India has robbed more than six hours of my time. But my aggravation was defeated by my own vulnerability against India’s cold air .

Fog calamity in India

Jhelum Express pulled up at Agra on 8:30 pm. Do you want to hear my story in using their economic train….Just wait….HORRIBLE !!!.

There was nothing I could do that night. Temperature almost touched zero degree Celsius, even air quickly cooled fried noodles I bought at street food stall. Even Indian spices which are stinging, I still couldn’t feel because a frozen began to hit my tongue.

I was like a coward hiding under the blanket of GoStops Hostel while waiting for the electricity to fill all my “electronic friends”.

Hotel staff: “You must be grateful to be an Indonesian. You can easily go everywhere. Not like me, getting a passport is very difficult. Our government protect their citizen from getting difficult life at out of our country. I had waited for two years to get a passport, I hope I will get this year. I want go around the world like you

Me: “Don’t worry, you will get it, my friend. You will go to my country also sometimes.  One thing that should made you proud with India. Your currency is more stronger than my currency…..Aaannnnddddd, Your country have great histories and cultures in the world.

It was a bit of a serious conversation before I entered room, and a slightly intellectual conversation after previously I only talked to Jhelum Express’ passengers who sitting in front of me and also to taxi driver who transferred me from Agra Cantt Station to hotel.

—-****—-

OKAY….A morning has came

Automatically, I only had 10 valuable hours to explore Agra starting on 7:00 in the morning. This time I wouldn’t justify myself to use public transportation….Too tight….Luckily, I did sharing costs with fellow backpacker roommates for a taxi services which was willing to be chartered until afternoon. Because in the afternoon, I would go to New Delhi. I just needed to spend USD 4.4 for my entire transportation fee.

1. Taj Mahal

Didn’t daring to touch water to wash myself, I rushed into a taxi which was ready in front of hostel. That morning….Fog was so thick which even the morning sun was unable to uncover it.

Yes, finally….I headed for dream destination of tourists all over the world….Taj Mahal

Taxi moved north along Agra-Bah Road. Not far away, only 3.5 km which is traveled in 15 minutes. Taxi stopped at edge of road, I was only remember a sign “Malik Tour & Travel” as a marker.

Bajaj service for USD 2.9 became a next connector toward Taj Mahal West Gate Ticket Office. I spend USD 7.25 to get a entry ticket.

Every inchies in Taj Mahal always carried an impression, a only thing which really disturbed all tourists was fog which made them feel annoyed because they couldn’t capture themselves with this historical building.

Taj Mahal was captured from Mehtab Bagh.

This mainstay of Uttar Pradesh State Tourism is truly impressive. A tomb which is dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal (wife of emperor Shah Jahan) is able to attract 8 million tourists from all over the world each year. One of UNESCO World Heritage Sites which you must visit if you enter Mahabharata land.

2. Itimad ud Daulah Tomb

Two hours of absorbing and enjoying the beauty of Taj Mahal which is almost entirely wrapped in white marble had carved a doctrine in my brain that the world is really beautiful.

Let’s go back to hostel to took a bath and ate a simple free-breakfast which was served by hostel. I immediately packed my backpack for check-out and put it in taxi luggage. After enjoying Agra Fort later, I would immediately go to New Delhi.

Located at 4.5 km north of Taj Mahal, this site offers tranquility and comfort. Unlike with Taj Mahal which is noisy with visitors. Similar but don’t as big as Taj Mahal which make it known as the “Baby Taj“.

A building which inspires architectural style of Taj Mahal.

If Taj Mahal is dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal, the construction of Itimad ud Daulah is dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal’s grandfather named Mirza Ghiyas Beg.

I don’t want to tell much….Visit it, yes!…Yuhuuuuu !!!!

3. Yamuna River

An hour moved quickly. My intention to immediately rushed to next destination ran aground. I was stunned by appearance of a dry river which stretched so broadly, as if showing off its beauty to all who were seeing, crossing or even living in it.

Located at west of Itimad ud Daulah.…Nice.

Guys….That’s Yamuna River….All my life, It was first time to saw a river which very wide like it.

Considered by Hindus as the Goddess Yamuna.

The river which is originating from Yamunotri glacier at Uttarakhand State looked receding and exposed to various forms of waste such as plastic and liquid waste which are easily guessed from its smell. .

4. Mehtab Bagh

Next two kilometers to south….

Licking, sipping and gently swallowing French fries with curry-flavored salt became my next unimportant activity….Set aside for about USD 0.7 to try some street culinary in India! I guarantee that you will be impressed.

Guys, I was already on a side of wide and romantic park….Mehtab Bagh is its name.

Mehtab Bagh” itself has a meaning which is similar to a meaning of pair of words in English i.e “Moonlight Garden“…Yes, how romantic is it?

It was said that….Shah Jahan would build a Black Taj Mahal in this park. But it was never achieved..

It is often been King’s stopover to enjoy beauty of Taj Mahal which is located at opposite it and is only separated by Yamuna River.

The price of admission ticket for USD 2.9 is nothing compared to the beauty of park which you can safely enjoy. Safe?….Yes, park was guarded by two fully armed soldiers who always walk around park.

5. Agra Fort

Masala Tea = 90 Rupee….This is USD 1.2

Egg Fried Rice = 150 Rupee….This is USD 2.1

That was my lunch menu at “The Master Chef” Restaurant at Fatehabad Road before heading to my last destination in Agra….#sad.

Located 2.5 km northwest of Taj Mahal, Agra Fort is also a World Heritage Site which is very prominent in its red color.

The walled city of Agra Fort….Amazing.

You have to pay USD 7.2 to directly imagine how is the Mughal emperor living in Agra Fort.

Walking around as much as you can in Agra Fort before parting with Agra city. I traced one by one of part in this fort.

Entering Diwan-i-Am like Mughal people who are complaining, or entering Diwan-i-Khas like an important royal guest who is being entertained by the king.

Feel the luxury of Jahangiri Mahal, which is a special palace for king’s wife then sat down to relax in Anguri Bagh which was used by women member of kingdom as a royal garden.

And as a Muslim, I also feel obliged to visit Moti Mosque in Agra Fort as a worship place for all kingdom members.

—-****—-

A short time that introduced me to an ancient city in northern India. City whose its architecture influences many building creations around the world.

Make sure that you visit it longer than me because historical values of this city are so high and can’t be enjoyed in an instant time.

Gagal Total Bertamu di Taj Mahal

Gebu semangat menyongsong Taj Mahal yang tak lebih tinggi dari nyali remeh temeh dalam menaklukkan dinginnya setiap tetes air yang keluar dari shower goStops Agra telah mempermalukan diriku sendiri di sebuah Sabtu pagi.

Jarum di angka 7 persis, taxi yang kami sewa harian melalui sharing cost tiba dan si pengemudi telah menunggu di lobby hostel sembari mendekapkan erat kedua tangannya sebagai pertanda bahwa dia telah diterpa kedinginan yang menusuk di luar sana.

Mau tahu harga sewa taxi putihnya?….Boleh….Rp. 240.000 yang dibagi empat orang. So, Rp. 60.000 harus kurelakan untuk naik diatas rodanya.

Bersikat gigi tanpa mandi, aku menghampiri dan mengajaknya bercakap sembari menunggu 3 turis lain turun. “No need long time to reach Taj Mahal, brother”, tutur pertamanya sembari menggeleng-geleng kepala ala India menjadi pembuka percakapan pagi itu. “Nice”, timpalku sembari sibuk membenahi winter jacket dan shall yang melingkar di leher.

Sepuluh menit selanjutnya, asap knalpotnya mulai mengakuisisi kabut tebal di sepanjang Agra-Bah Road. Benar saja katanya, 15 menit kemudian dia meminta kami turun dan menunjuk sebuah bajaj seharga Rp. 40.000 untuk melanjutkan perjalanan menuju Taj Majal Eastern Gate. Tak menjadi masalah dengan harga karena bajaj itu akhirnya kami tunggangi berempat….Dasar turis tak beradab….Hahaha.

Jam 07:30, para turis telah mengantri berburu tiket seharga Rp. 98.000
Tiketku digenggaman

Bodoh sangat!…..Rasa ingin tahu yang membabi buta telah menutup logikaku pagi itu. Tak pernah berfikir jernih sedari berangkat meninggalkan hostel bahwa badai kabut tebal kota Agra akan menutup pelataran Taj Mahal secara sempurna….Ah, aku berdiri lama menghela nafas panjang kesal di gerbang masuk Taj Mahal. Tak mampu melihat apapun 10 meter didepan. Hanya kabut tebal yang membuatku perlahan membeku.

Tak ada pilihan, suka tak suka, aku harus mulai menjelajah Taj Mahal dengan jaminan pasti bahwa aku tak akan pernah menikmati kemolekannya secara sempurna.

Aku mulai menaiki tangga perlahan memasuki gerbang pertama situs termasyhur itu. Gerbang pertama ini bernama Jilau Khana.

Area sekitar Jilau Khana atau sering disebut forecourt. Bahasa Jawanya “halaman depan”.

Yang terjadi sungguh di luar nalar. Belum juga selesai menikmati merah batanya Jilau Khana, langkah kaki otomatisku tak terbendung mendekat ke bangunan utama. Taj Mahal bak magnet bagi siapa saja yang berkunjung.

Jalan penghubung antara Jilau Khana dan gerbang utama

Sebelum tiba di bangunan utama….Sekitar 100 meter kemudian, aku mencapai gerbang utama nan agung.

Namanya Darwaza-i-rauza atau sering disebut Great Gate

Mulai terdengar keluhan para bule itu sembari menyalahkan sang kabut.”I can’t take a picture!”, keluhnya kepada sesama temannya. Kecut tersenyum dengan sunggingan sebelah bibir, aku tak memperdulikan kekecewaan yang sama.

Lihatlah ukiran di bagian dalam Darwaza-i-rauza itu!

Lalu dimana bangunan utama Taj Mahal yang selalu diburu para traveler dunia?

Yup….350 meter di utara Darwaza-i-rauza adalah letak Taj Mahal, makam dua sejoli yang melegenda. Shah Jahan sang raja dan Mumtaz Mahal sang permaisuri keturunan Persia yang konon cantik luar biasa.

Tak berlama waktu, aku segera memasang penutup sepatu untuk kemudian bersiap memasuki Taj Mahal

shoe cover akan diberikan saat membeli tiket.

Layaknya masjid, Taj Mahal dilengkapi dengan empat minaret di setiap sisinya. Kebesaran kerajaan Mughal tercermin dari setiap jengkal Taj Mahal yang tersusun dari marmer putih yang didatangkan khusus dari Rajashtan dan batu safir yang dikirim dari Sri Lanka.

Minaret setinggi 40 meter dengan dinding silinder.

Hal menggelitik lain ketika mengunjungi Taj Mahal adalah dikala setiap pengunjung berjalan teratur mengikuti alur yang sudah dibuat petugas untuk menikmati setiap sisi ruang utama Taj Mahal dimana makam Mumtaz Mahal berada. Tiga polisi bersenjata lengkap mengawasi setiap pengunjung dengan cermat. Terkadang mereka berseloroh ke beberapa turis untuk segera melangkah karena keasyikan mengambil photo dan membuat alur jalan menjadi macet.

Dinding Taj Mahal
Jendela Taj Mahal
Indahnya seni kaligrafi  Taj Mahal
Lumayan lah….Daripada tidak sama sekali

Begitulah adanya, Taj Mahal yang berusia 372 tahun ini memang mempesona. Tak khayal, 4 juta wisatawan tertarik mengunjunginya setiap tahun.

Selesai menikmati Taj Mahal, maka aku segeran undur diri dan kembali ke eastern gate menuju taxi yang menungguku.

Aku kembali ke timur….Kamu mau kembali lewat mana?

Lima Destinasi Wisata Agra dalam 10 Jam.

PARAHHHHH…..

Badai kabut di utara India telah merampas waktuku lebih dari 6 jam.  Tetapi kejengkelan telak terkalahkan dengan keripuhanku sendiri melawan super dinginnya udara Negeri Nehru itu.

Petaka kabut di India

Jhelum Express menepi di Agra pada 20:30. Pengen denger ceritaku menjajal kereta ekonomi mereka….nanti saja lah….MENGERIKAN !!!.

Tak ada yang bisa kuperbuat malam itu. Suhu yang hampir menyentuh nol derajat Celcius, bahkan udara dengan cepat mendinginkan sajian mie goreng pinggir jalan yang kubeli. Bumbu India yang terkenal menyengat itu bahkan tak mampu kurasakan karena beku mulai menghantam lidah.

Aku bak seorang pengecut yang bersembunyi di balik selimut GoStops Hostel sambil menunggu aliran listrik memenuhi segenap “teman elektronikku”.

Staff Hotel: “You must be grateful to be an Indonesian. You can easily go everywhere. Not like me, getting a passport is very difficult. Our government protect their citizen from getting difficult life at out of our country. I had waited for two years to get a passport, I hope I will get this year. I want go around the world like you

Aku: “Don’t worry, you will get it, my friend. You will go to my country also sometimes.  One thing that should made you proud with India. Your currency is more stronger than my currency…..Aaannnnddddd, Your country have great histories and cultures in the world.

Itu sedikit percakapan serius sebelum aku memasuki kamar, dan percakapan yang sedikit intelektual setelah sebelumnya aku hanya berbicara dengan penumpang kereta yang duduk di depanku dan sopir taxi yang mentransferku dari Stasiun Agra Cantt ke hotel.

—-****—-

OKAY….Kukuruyukkkkk….#perasaanganemuayam.

Automatically, Aku hanya memiliki 10 jam berharga untuk mengeksplorasi Agra dimulai dari jam 7 pagi. Kali ini aku tak akan membenarkan diriku untuk menggunakan transportasi umum….Terlalu mepet….Beruntungnya, aku melakukan sharing cost bersama teman-teman backpacker sekamar untuk jasa taxi yang bersedia di carter hingga sore hari. Karena sore hari, aku akan menuju New Delhi. Aku hanya perlu mengeluarkan Rp. 60.000 untuk biaya transportasiku seharian.

1. Taj Mahal

Tak berani menyentuh air untuk membasuh badan, aku tergopoh memasuki taxi yang sudah siap di depan hostel. Pagi itu….Kabut sangat tebal bahkan matahari pagi tak mampu menyibaknya.

Yes, akhirnya….Aku menuju destinasi idaman turis seluruh dunia….Taj Mahal

Taxi bergerak ke utara menyusuri Agra-Bah Road. Tak jauh, hanya 3.5 km yang tertempuh dalam 15 menit. Taxi berhenti di tepi jalanan, aku hanya ingat dengan papan nama “Malik Tour & Travel” sebagai penanda.

Jasa bajaj seharga Rp. 40.000 menjadi penghubung berikutnya menuju Taj Mahal West Gate Ticket Office. Kulepas Rp. 98.000 untuk mendapatkan tiket masuknya.

Setiap jengkal di Taj Mahal selalu menggoreskan kesan, satu-satunya benda yang sangat mengganggu para wisatawan adalah kabut yang membuat mereka seakan kesal tak bisa mengabadikan dirinya bersama bangunan sangat bersejarah itu.

Taj Mahal tertangkap dari Mehtab Bagh.

Wisata andalan Negara Bagian Uttar Pradesh itu memang sungguh mengesankan. Makam yang didedikasikan untuk Mumtaz Mahal (istri dari kaisar Shah Jahan) sanggup menarik 8 juta wisatawan dari seluruh dunia setiap tahunnya. Salah satu Situs Warisan Dunia UNESCO yang harus kamu kunjungi jika memasuki tanah Mahabharata itu.       

2. Itimad ud Daulah Tomb

Dua jam meresapi dan menikmati keindahan Taj Mahal yang hampir keseluruhannya berbalut marmer putih mematri doktrin di otakku bahwa dunia itu sungguh indah.

Yuk, balik ke hostel untuk berbasuh dan menyantap sajian free-breakfast sederhana yang disajikan hostel. Aku sendiri langsung berkemas check-out dan menaruh backpack di bagasi taxi. Selepas menengok Agra Fort nanti, aku akan langsung bertolak ke New Delhi.

Berada 4.5 km di utara Taj Mahal, situs ini menawarkan ketenangan dan kenyamanan. Tak seperti Taj Mahal yang bising pengunjung. Mirip tapi tak sebesar Taj Mahal menjadikannya dikenal sebagai “Bayi Taj”.

Adalah bangunan yang mengilhami gaya arsitektur Taj Mahal.

Jika Taj Mahal didedikasikan untuk Mumtaz Mahal, maka pembangunan Itimad ud Daulah didedikasikan untuk kakek dari Mumtaz Mahal yang bernama Mirza Ghiyas Beg.

Aku ndak mau bercerita banyak….Datang sendiri aja ya….Yuhuuuuu !!!!

3. Yamuna River

Satu jam bergulir dengan cepatnya. Niatanku untuk segera bergegas menuju destinasi berikutnya kandas. Aku tertegun dengan penampakan sungai kering nan menghampar begitu luas, seakan memamerkan kegagahan kepada semua yang makhluk melihat, melintasi atau bahkan hidup daripadanya.

Terletak di sebelah barat Itimad ud Daulah……Beuh,

Man….Itu Sungai Yamuna….Seumur-umur, aku baru melihat sungai seluas itu.

Didaulat umat Hindu sebagai Dewi Yamuna.

Sungai yang bersumber dari gletser Yamunotri di  Negara Bagian Uttarakhand ini terlihat surut dan terpapar berbagai bentuk limbah seperti plastik dan limbah cair yang mudah diterka dari baunya.

4. Mehtab Bagh

Dua kilometer berikutnya di selatan…..

Menjilat, menyesap dan menelan pelan french fries jalanan berbumbu garam beraroma kari menjadi aktivitas tak pentingku berikutnya….Sisihkan beberapa Rp. 10.000-an untuk mencoba beberapa kuliner ringan jalanan di India !. Kujamin kamu akan terkesan.

Gaes, aku sudah di sisi sebuah taman nan lebar dan romantis….Mehtab Bagh namanya.

Mehtab Bagh” sendiri memiliki makna yang tak jauh dari sepasang kata dalam Bahasa Inggris “Moonlight Garden”….tuh, gimana ga romantis coba?.

Konon…. Shah Jahan akan membangun Black Taj Mahal di taman ini. Tapi tak pernah kesampaian.

Sering menjadi persinggahan sang Raja untuk menikmati keindahan Taj Mahal yang berada di seberangnya dan hanya terpisahkan oleh Sungai Yamuna.

Harga tiket masuk sebesar Rp. 40.000 tidaklah seberapa dibandingkan dengan keindahan taman yang bisa kamu nikmati dengan aman. Aman?….Ya taman ini dijaga dua tentara bersenjata lengkap yang selalu berkeliling taman.

5. Agra Fort

Masala Tea = 90 Rupee ….ini mah Rp. 17.000

Egg Fried Rice = 150 Rupee….yah sekitar Rp. 29.000.

Itulah menu makan siangku di “The Master Chef” Restaurant di bilangan Fatehabad Road sebelum menuju destinasi terakhirku di Agra….#sedih.

Terletak 2.5 km di barat laut Taj Mahal, Agra Fort juga menjadi Situs Warisan Dunia yang sangat menonjol dengan warna merahnya.

Kota berdinding ala Agra Fort….Menakjubkan.

Kamu harus membayar Rp. 98.000 untuk membayangkan secara langsung para kaisar Mughal tinggal di Agra Fort ini.

Berkeliling sepuasnya di dalam Agra Fort sebelum berpisah dengan kota Agra. Aku menelusuri satu demi satu bagian didalam banteng kota ini.

Memasuki Diwan-i-Am bak rakyat Mughal yang sedang berkeluh kesah, atau memasuki Diwan-i-Khas bak tamu penting kerajaan yang sedang dijamu sang raja.

Merasakan kemewahan Jahangiri Mahal yang merupakan istana khusus untuk istri raja, lalu terduduk merelaksasi diri di Anguri Bagh yang pada masanya digunakan oleh para wanita anggota kerajaan sebagai taman kerajaan.

Dan sebagai seorang muslim, aku juga merasa wajib menapaki Moti Masjid didalam Agra Fort sebagai tempat peribadatan segenap anggota kerajaan.

—-****—-

Waktu singkat yang mengenalkanku pada kota kuno di utara India. Kota yang arsitekturnya mempengaruhi banyak kreasi bangunan di seluruh dunia.

Pastikan kamu mengunjunginya lebih lama dariku karena nilai sejarah kota ini begitu tinggi dan tak bisa dinikmati dalam sekejap saja.