Tracing Shah Jahan, Enjoying Taj Mahal at Mehtab Bagh

After tired in taking care of Mughal government, I usually head to Taj Mahal to monitor progress of its construction. In afternoon, I invited some Taj Mahal workers to cross Yamuna river and I continued to take shelter under trees in a field to enjoy Taj Mahal which stood majestically doused by orange-red sunset….So beautiful, I imagined it. Imagine?….Yes, because I’m not Shah Jahan. Only he who can do that activity in the past. Who am I ?….Haha.

Taj Mahal was captured from Mehtab Bagh.

I arrived after 10 minutes earlier still exploring Itimad ud Daulah in Northwest Mehtab Bagh. The beautiful and spacious garden hadn’t stolen yet my attention, because I was more interested in old man action who flipping through his fried food so that it gave off aroma of arouse my appetite. No wonder, many people were willing to queue to taste it. I paid for USD 0.75 to redeem and devour it, hot french fries with a faint aroma of curry became my snack menu before entering Mehtab Bagh.

Buying a ticket first before entering.

I immediately headed to gate and buying a ticket for USD 3. Suddenly amazed by park condition. Neatly arranged pathway is embellished with an elongated flower column in the middle. Also facilitated by benches in several spots. All benches were almost all occupied by many Indian young couple who were infected by romance. I couldn’t dismiss it, because the park was very romantic, as its name mean. You know the meaning of “Mehtab Bagh”words?….Mehtab Bagh has same meaning as Moonlight Garden….Wouw..

Really neat right?….

When many young people looked at each other’s interests, I was more interested in going to right of park. Because from distance, appearance of Taj Mahal was so eye-catching. Now I just found out, why Shah Jahan often spends his afternoon to just look at his project here. He even intended to make a black twin Taj Mahal in Mehtab Bagh. But his intention was canceled because he was caught and be a house arrest at Agra Fort after coup by his own son. His son was worried about their kingdom finances which his father was prone to spend it for realizing his intention to build black Taj mahal.

Look at that foundation!….Forerunner of Black Taj Mahal which failed.

All visitors exactly feel safe when in park, because two young armed soldiers patrolled around park to secure its situation.

Soldier: “Where are you come from?”, asked with smile.

Me: “Indonesia, Sir”, answered with simle too.

Soldier: “How about Taj Mahal?. It’s good. Are you happy?”

Me: “Yes, Sir. It’s beautiful. I Love it”, answered.

Soldier: “Enjoy

Me: “Thanks Sir”.

Shady trees in the park.
Other side of park.

I couldn’t really head to Yamuna river bank because It was restricted with iron wires. I saw an european tourist look professional when taking out long binocular DSLR and capturing lots of Taj Mahal pictures from various sides which he liked, right in front of wire fence. I just imagined that one day I could have a camera like that and travel around the world then taking great pictures for you to see. By the way, finally 3 months later I had a Canon EOS M10 mirrorles camera. Not as good as his, but enough for me who have small salary to capture better pictures….Hahaha.

It was enough to imitate Shah Jahan actions at Mehtab Bagh. Now I would see Agra Fort where Shah Jahan is imprisoned….Sad ending.

Merunut Shah Jahan, Menikmati Taj Mahal di Mehtab Bagh

Selepas penat mengurus pemerintahan Mughal, aku terbiasa menuju Taj Mahal untuk memantau progress pembangunannya. Kala sore menjelang, kuajak beberapa buruh Taj Mahal untuk menyeberangi sungai Yamuna dan kusambung dengan berteduh di sebuah tanah lapang untuk menikmati Taj Mahal yang berdiri megah tersiram oleh sinar senja merah jingga….Begitu indah, aku membayangkan itu. Membayangkan?….Ya, karena aku bukan Shah Jahan. Hanya dialah yang bisa melakukan aktivitas itu di masa lampau. Siapalah aku….Hahaha.

Taj Mahal tertangkap dari Mehtab Bagh

Aku tiba setelah 10 menit sebelumnya masih mengeksplore Itimad ud Daulah di Barat Laut Mehtab Bagh. Taman indah nan luas itu belum juga mencuri perhatianku, karena aku lebih tertarik dengan aksi seorang bapak setengah tua membolak-balik gorengannya sehingga menebarkan aroma harum penggugah selera. Pantaslah banyak orang bersedia mengantri untuk mencicipinya. Kurelakan Rp. 10.000 untuk menebus dan melahapnya, french fries panas beraroma samar kari menjadi menu cemilanku sebelum mamasuki Mehtab Bagh.

Beli tiket dulu lah sebelum masuk.

Aku segera menuju gerbang disertai membeli tiket seharga Rp. 40.000. Sontak terkagum dengan kondisi taman. Jalur yang tertata rapi itu diperindah dengan kolom bunga yang memanjang di tengahnya. Difasilitasi pula oleh bangku di beberapa spot. Bangku yang hampir semua terduduki oleh pasangan muda-mudi India yang sedang terjangkit asmara. Aku tak bisa menampiknya, karena memang taman itu sangatlah romantic, sesuai namanya. Kamu tahu kan arti kata Mehtab Bagh?….Mehtab Bagh memiliki makna yang sama dengan Moonlight Garden. Beuh….Gimana ga indehoy tuh.

Rapi banget kan?…

Ketika muda-mudi itu saling berpandang dalam ketertarikan masing-masing maku aku lebih tertarik menuju ke sebelah kanan taman karena dari kejauhan penampakan Taj Mahal itu begitu mempesona mata. Kini aku baru tahu, kenapa Shah Jahan sering meluangkan waktu sorenya untuk sekedar bersimpuh memandangi karyanya disini. Bahkan dia pernah berniat membuat Taj Mahal kembar berwarna hitam di Mehtab Bagh. Namun niat itu urung karena dia keburu menjadi tahanan rumah di Agra Fort pasca dikudeta anak laki-lakinya sendiri. Si anak khawatir terhadap keuangan kerajaan yang rawan dihabiskan ayahnya untuk merealisasikan niatnya itu.

Lihatlah fondasi itu!….Cikal Bakal Black Taj Mahal yang gagal.

Semua pengunjung pasti merasa aman ketika berada di taman, karena dua serdadu muda bersenjata lengkap berkeliling taman untuk mengamankan situasi.

Serdadu: “Where are you come from?”, seloroh beriring senyum.

Aku: “Indonesia, Sir”, timpal membalas senyum.

Serdadu: “How about Taj Mahal?. It’s good. Are you happy?”

Aku: “Yes, Sir. It’s beautiful. I Love it”, imbuhku.

Serdadu: “Enjoy

Aku: “Thanks Sir”.

Pepohonan nan rindang di taman.
Sisi lain taman.

Aku tak bisa benar-benar menuju ke tepian sungai Yamuna karena pengelola taman membatasi taman dengan kawat besi. Kulihat seorang turis Eropa terkesan professional ketika mengeluarkan DSLR berteropong panjang dan mengambil banyak sekali gambar Taj Mahal dari berbagai sisi yang dia suka tepat di depan pagar kawat itu. Aku hanya membayangkan jika suatu saat bisa memiliki kamera seperti itu dan berkeliling dunia mengambil gambar-gambar ciamik untuk kalian lihat. Alhamdulillah, Akhirnya 3 bulan kemudian aku memiliki kamera mirrorles Canon EOS M10. Tak sebaik miliknya, tetapi cukup bagiku yang berpenghasilan pas-pasan untuk menangkap gambar lebih baik….Hahaha #curcol

Cukup rasanya meniru aksi Shah Jahan di Mehtab Bagh. Kini aku akan melihat Agra Fort, tempat Shah Jahan dipenjara….Kesian. #sedih

Jet Airways 9W 256 from Mumbai to Colombo (BOM-CMB)

My third-flight and also my last flight with Jet Airways were deliberately priority to be written. Remembering every Jet Airways flights that are very important in completing my exploration in South Asia region.

Early morning flight (2:05 p.m.) which was departed from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai made me lack of sleep time since checked-in until landing (04: 35).

Entering airport, I immediately sought a pray room. Entering prayer room, I was greeted by a man who was wearing an ihram cloth (Ihram cloth is specific cloth for hajj or umrah in Mecca) among a group of umrah tour which were praying together. His hospitality smile welcomed me after ablutions.

He : “Assalamu’alaikum, hi brother, where are you come from?

Me: “Hi sir …. from Indonesia“. I threw a smile to him.

He: “I’m from Bangadesh, I think you are from Malaysia“. He smiled again.

Me: “Yeaa….Malaysian and Indonesia are looking same”. I shaked his hand

He: “Where will you go?

Me: “I will go to Colombo…Oh ya three days ago, I visit your country

He: Suddenly hugging me … ” Really, How about my country? nice?

Me: “Yeaa, exotic country….very original….I will come again next time”.

He: smile again and patted my shoulder.

I also found some Indians praying at some airport corridors.

Dinner at that night were some authentic Indian street fried foods which I got from the last rupee after exploring Mumbai”

A thing that I always do when traveling is to exchange my last local moneys into USD before leaving a country which I visited and then spending last coins which can’t be exchanged to buy a menu for next meal. In fact, sometimes I will eat it in next country.

Last 2 hours waiting time was used to charge all my electronic devices which low battery after I use it in exploring Mumbai.

Airport information calls which don’t use Indian-English accent at all make me feeling like at European airports (It’s still dream….I’ve never set foot in Europe). Yeah cool.…all information calls at this airport is accented with native english .

It was really nice to see my plane leaned on gate 85D, a sign that I would set foot in Colombo soon.

My plane just arrived and was unloading

1 hour later boarding process started.…

through aviobridge I finally caught my third flight with Jet Airways.

Online checking-in that I did 24 hours before flight made me free to choose a window seat. This position is always my choose at every flight to easy documenting every moment during flight.

boarding process before I really fell asleep.

Trying to still awake by reading “Jet Wings”, I hoped cabin crews would immediately distribute in-fligt meal.

this is Jet Airways’ inflight magazine.

Even when I fell asleep, inflight meal never came. Apparently, there wasn’t food on this flight. Or whether I missed it. Because I really fell asleep very hard. Because less sleep during Mumbai exploration.

I was awakened by flight attendants to immediately establish my seat, signaling that I would land in Colombo soon.

I deftly set up my Canon EOS M10 and turned it on. I would catch some city view when plane prepared to touch down at Bandaranaike International Airport.

I was stunned by a row of lights that were patterned straight and neat. There wasn’t doubt that it must be a beach that would ll be my destination in Colombo.

View along the famous Galle Face beach.

10 minutes later, Jet Airways actually landed in Colombo. Hmmmh… couldn’t wait to get down soon.

Bandaranaike International Airport could be seen from plane’s window.

My arrival was at 4:35 a.m., I had to wait until morning to catch first airport bus which would go to downtown.

Jet Airways was in unloading process at Bandaranaike International Airport

Subha udesenak!Pearl of the Indian Ocean“….kindly welcomed me, please….hehehe.

Jet Airways 9W 256 dari Mumbai ke Colombo (BOM-CMB)

Penerbangan ke-3 sekaligus penerbangan terakhir bersama Jet Airways ini sengaja kudahulukan untuk ditulis. Mengenang setiap penerbangan Jet Airways yang sangat berjasa dalam menuntaskan penjelajahanku di kawasan Asia Selatan.

Penerbangan dini hari (jam 02:05) yang bertolak dari Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport di Mumbai membuatku kekurangan waktu tidur dari mulai check-in hingga landing (jam 04:35).

Memasuki airport, Aku segera mencari pray room untuk bersembahyang. Memasuki mushala, Aku disapa oleh seorang Bapak yang mengenakan kain ihram bersama sekelompok rombongan yang sedang shalat bersama. Senyum keramahannya menyambutku seusai berwudhu.

Dia: “Assalamu’alaikum, hi brother, where are you come from?”

Saya: “Hi Sir….from Indonesia”. Sembari kulempar senyum.

Dia: “I’m from Bangadesh, I think you are from Malaysia”. Dia kembali tersenyum

Saya: “Yeaa….Malaysian and Indonesia are looking same”. Kujabat tangannya

Dia: “Where will you go?

Saya: “I will go to Colombo…Oh ya three days ago, I visit your country

Dia: Tiba-tiba memelukku….”Really, How about my country? nice?

Saya: “Yeaa, exotic country….very original….I will come again next time”.

Dia: Kembali senyum dan menepuk-nepuk pundakku.

Aku juga menemukan beberapa orang India bersembahyang di beberapa selasar airport.

Makan malam waktu itu bermenu “beberapa gorengan jalanan asli India yang kudapat dari recehan rupee terakhir pasca menjelajah Mumbai”

Trik yang selalu kulakukan saat traveling adalah menukar kembali kelebihan uang lokal dengan USD sebelum meninggalkan negara yang kukunjungi lalu membelanjakan uang receh yang tak bisa ditukar dengan seporsi menu untuk waktu makan selanjutnya. Bahkan terkadang makanan itu akan kumakan di negara selanjutnya….Gokil bued….Ngirit minta ampun.

2 jam waktu tunggu tersisa kumanfaatkan untuk mengisi daya semua alat elektronikku yang lowbatt setelah kugunakan dalam menjelajah Mumbai.

Panggilan informasi bandara yang tidak sama sekali berlogat Indian English membuat Aku merasa berada di bandara-bandara Eropa (Ngaco….padahal belum pernah menginjakkan kaki di Eropa). Iya keren lho….panggilan informasi di airport ini beraksen native english.

Seneng banget melihat pesawatku merapat ke gate 85D, pertanda Aku akan segera menginjakkan kaki di Colombo.

Pesawatku baru sampai dan sedang proses unloading

1 jam kemudian boarding process pun dimulai…..

melalui aviobridge akhirnya Aku menangkap penerbangan ketigaku bersama Jet Airways.

Online check-in yang kulakukan 24 jam sebelum penerbangan membuatku leluasa memilih window seat. Posisi ini yang memang selalu kuincar setiap terbang untuk bisa mendokumentasikan setiap momen selama pernerbangan berlangsung.

boarding process sebelum Aku benar-benar terlelap tidur.

Mencoba menahan mata dengan mambaca “Jet Wings” berharap para awak kabin segera membagikan in-fligt meal.

inilah infligt magazine nya Jet Airways.

Bahkan hingga Aku terlelap menu itu tak pernah datang. Ternyata memang tak ada makanan dalam penerbangan kali ini. Atau entah Aku melewatkannya. Karena Aku benar-benar terlelap sangat nyenyak. Akibat kurang tidur selama eksplorasi Mumbai.

Dibangunkan oleh pramugari untuk segera menegakkan tempat duduk, menandakan Aku akan segera mendarat di Colombo.

Dengan cekatan Aku segera men-setting Canon EOS M10 ku dan menyalakannya. Aku akan menangkap beberapa view kota disaat pesawat bersiap touch down di Bandaranaike International Airport.

Aku tertegun dengan deretan cahaya lampu yang terpola lurus dan rapi. Tak salah lagi itu pasti pantai yang akan menjadi destinasiku di Colombo.

View sepanjang pantai Galle Face yang sangat terkenal itu.

10 menit kemudian Jet Airways benar-benar mendarat di Colombo. Aduh…ga sabar untuk segera turun.

Bandaranaike International Airport terlihat dari jendela pesawat.

Kedatanganku pada pukul 04:35 dini hari, membuatku harus menunggu hingga pagi untuk menangkap airport bus pertama yang akan menuju pusat kota Colombo.

Jet Airways sedang unloading process di Bandaranaike International Airport

Subha udesenak!Pearl of the Indian Ocean“….sambutlah diriku dengan ramah ya….hehehe.