Taj Mahal is may be an famous heritage on earth. But actually behind its fame, there is an architectural creation which the world has agreed that It is a Taj Mahal’s blueprint. This prototype is in Itimad ud Daulah.
Very grateful, I had an opportunity to visit it on that afternoon. Like a surprise when reading a novel. This time, The Preliminary Chapter began with a suddenly appearing of donkey rows carrying red bricks which was accompanied by the owner’s song. Amazed to see donkeys which were saying “excuse me” in front of me. This is my first time in seeing this animal about a meter in front. The owner just smiled to me when he saw me gaping without blinking eyes while pressing record button of my mobile phone.
Spending USD 2.8, I entered into “Baby Taj” yard. (“Baby Taj” is a favorite call for Itimad ud Daulah).
If Taj Mahal belongs to Mumtaz Mahal, then Itimad ud Daulah belongs to Mirza Ghiyas Beg who is none other than Mumtaz Mahal’s grandfather . Taj Mahal was built by Mumtaz Mahal’s husband, then Itimad ud Daulah was built by Nur Jahan who was Ghiyas Beg’s son.
Tracking it part by part, my mind confirmed that Itimad ud Daulah was a mini form of Taj Mahal. Not exactly same but its architecture, interior and exterior design are close to similar. Still the same, It is relying on white marble as main display.
The weather began to warm, making me comfortably sat while enjoying the beauty of this mausoleum. This time, my gaze was slightly interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful tourist with long blond hair. It wasn’t her face which teased me, but my admiration for her effort to came to Itimad ud Daulah in her condition with crutches and casts that indicated there was a severe injury in her right leg. She struggled to sit on the ground while directing her DSLR to and fro. Occasionally interspersed by reading Lonely Planet which was issued from her small backpack. Unfortunately, I didn’t dare to say hello. Her beauty makes me stunned….Damn, I was a coward backpacker.
Closing Chapter of Itimad ud Daulah’s exploration began with stepping to a gate on right side. I was really fascinated by the vast expanse of a river which began to dry up. I certainly knew that it is Yamuna river which is considered by Indian Hindus to be Goddess Yamuna, the Goddess who is believed to be able to free them from death torments when purifying themself with its water.
So….Yamuna River was my exploration closing session in Itimad ud Daulah. Curious in waiting for various surprises for the beauty of Agra architecture in other locations which I will visit until late afternoon.
Stepping out, I began to open my map and stirred my intention to visit Mehtab Bagh, a charming park which was the best point to enjoy the beauty of Taj Mahal.
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 .
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.
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.
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“.
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 !!!!
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.
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. .
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 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.
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.
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.