Red Brick Charisma of Agra Fort

Get off here and walk straight there. I will wait here for maximum 2 hours“, said full-day rent taxi driver after spitting betel nut out of taxi window. Betel spittle traces evenly looked in car parking area…. Pathetic.

Ticket sales counter.
Pretty good price….USD 7.3

Not wasting time, I immediately sneaked into the visitors queue to buy a ticket. Shortly….Not more than 10 minutes, a ticket was already got.

I sank into Red Fort grandeur. This city fortress is really high as if watching every step of people who approaching it. Mughal City seems to be the safest city in the world with a thick wall.

Let’s entering it….
Amar Singh Gate in front.
Its walls around main entrance.

Like other fortress, I must cross a canal through a bridge which connects main street and fort gate itself. Entering it, every lane in fortress inner side must be traversed between high walls which slowly changed from creepy to comfortable.

The second gate with 21 meters high wall loomed and I was be like a dwarf.
Exterior around the gate.

This 4.5-century old UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to all members of Mughal royal family. Red Fort automatically stopped functioning when the capital of Mughal kingdom moved to Delhi. Agra Fort itself was initiated to be built because of several wars between several kingdoms around Hindustan until Afghan area.

Then….My cunning began to acquire myself when “free fare” intuition led me to follow a tour guide steps who was carrying Chinese tourists. Every explanation which came out of his lips tried to understand by me. Some tourists frowned when I was caught eavesdropping, they realized that I was an intruder in their group.

Let’s carefully listen!….

One interesting amusement was when I was offered a pinch of yellow powder by an old man. I’m confused with it. It turned out that a few seconds later little squirrels got into my hands and ate this powder. I just saw a super tame squirrel like that.

Benign squirrels around the fort approached to visitors.
Peeking conditions around from top of fortress.
Taj Mahal was faintly monitored from Agra Fort.

Then steps led me into a white building nicknamed as Khas Mahal which was the king’s private palace. This building is made from marble with beautiful paintings in it.

Khas Mahal interior.
A fountain in front of Khas Mahal.

Not far from Khas Mahal, you can see a white two-story building with a large garden in front of its yard. This section is named Anguri Bagh.

Anguri Baghh means “The Grape Garden” which is a private garden belonging to female members of kingdom..

Anguri Bagh
Golden Pavilion around Anguri Bagh.
Buildings around Anguri Bagh were being renovated.

And the last part which I visited was Jahangiri Mahal (often also called Jahangiri Palace). This is the heart of Agra Fort. A magnificent palace intended as a residence of king’s wife.

Ouch….The handsome man…. Who is he?

Check the video in this link: https://youtu.be/fTQTuLa7bBE

Short words and short steps later….I rushed to Agra Cantt station. Awaited a train to New Delhi.

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.

Kharisma Merah Bata Agra Fort

Get off here and walk straight there. I will wait here for maximum 2 hours”, ucap pengemudi taxi sewa harian setelah meludahkan kunyahan sirih keluar jendela. Bekas ludahan sirih terlihat merata di area parkir kendaraan memang….Menyedihkan.

Loker penjualan tiket
Lumayan juga harganya….Rp. 98.000.

Tak menyiakan waktu, Aku segera menyelinap ke antrian pengunjung untuk membeli tiket masuk. Tak lama….Tak lebih dari 10 menit, tiket sudah digenggaman.

Aku tenggelam dalam keangkuhan julangan Benteng Merah. Benteng kota itu sungguh tinggi seakan mengawasi setiap gerik langkah orang yang mendekatinya. Kota Mughal seolah menjadi kota teraman di dunia dengan ketebalan dinding yang melingkarnya

Yuk mulai masuk….
Amar Singh Gate dihadapan.
Dinding benteng di sekitar main entrance

Layaknya benteng pertahanan, aku harus menyeberang kanal melalui sebuah jembatan yang menghubungkan jalanan utama kota Agra dan gerbang benteng itu sendiri. Memasukinya, setiap jalur kota di sisi dalam benteng harus dilalui dalam hapitan dinding yang perlahan berubah dari menyeramkan menjadi menyamankan.

Gerbang kedua dengan dinding 21 meter menjulang menjadikanku bak kurcaci.
Eksterior sekitar gerbang

UNESCO World Heritage Site yang berusia 4,5 abad ini adalah tempat tinggal seluruh anggota keluarga kerajaan Mughal. Benteng Merah otomatis berhenti berfungsi ketika ibukota kerajaan Mughal berpindah ke Delhi. Agra Fort sendiri terprakarsa dibangun karena terjadinya beberapa kali peperangan antar beberapa kerajaan yang ada di sekitar Hindustan hingga daerah Afghan.

Lalu….Kelicikanku mulai menguasai diri ketika intuisi “gratisan” menuntunku untuk mengekori langkah seorang tour guide yang sedang membawa turis-turis asal Tiongkok. Setiap penjelasan yang keluar dari bibirnya coba kucermati dan pahami. Beberapa turis mengernyitkan dahi ketika aku ketahuan sedang menguping, mereka sadar bahwa aku adalah penyusup dalam kelompoknya.

Yuk mari….Dengarkan dengan teliti!….

Satu hiburan yang menarik adalah ketika aku disodori sejumput bubuk kuning oleh seorang bapak tua. Aku bingung kenapa?. Ternyata beberapa detik kemudian tupai-tupai kecil naik ke tanganku dan memakan bubuk itu. Baru kulihat ada tupai super jinak seperti itu.

Tupai jinak di sekitaran benteng mendekat ke pengunjung.
Mengintip kondisi sekitar dari atas benteng
Taj Mahal samar terpantau dari Agra Fort.

Kemudian langkah mengantarku memasuki bangunan putih berjuluk Khas Mahal yang merupakan istana pribadi sang raja. Bangunan ini terbuat dari marmer dengan lukisan-lukisan indah di dalamnya.

Interior Khas Mahal
Air mancur di depan Khas Mahal

Tak jauh dari Khas Mahal, terlihat bangunan dua lantai berwarna putih dengan taman luas di depan pekarangannya. Bagian ini diberi nama Anguri Bagh.

Anguri Baghh berarti “The Grape Garden” yang merupakan taman pribadi milik anggota kerajaan perempuan.

Anguri Bagh
Golden Pavilion di sekitar Anguri Bagh
Bangunan di sekitar Anguri Bagh yang sedang di renovasi

Dan bagian terakhir yang kukunjungi adalah Jahangiri Mahal (sering disebut juga Jahangiri Palace). Inilah jantungnya Agra Fort. Istana megah yang diperuntukkan sebagai tempat tinggal istri raja.

Duh….Cakepnya….Siapa sih itu?

Singkat kata dan singkat langkah kemudian….Aku buru-buru ke stasiun Agra Cantt. Ditunggu kereta menuju New Delhi.

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.