Uttar Pradesh, India
i only had a quick nap after we checked in our hotel in Agra. it was quite a small room for two of us where i had to manage the space between our luggage and where to pray etc. i woke up and decided to go out. i asked the front desk on the closest ATM for me to withdraw some rupee, as well as to buy the credit for my prepaid.
i walked out alone from the hotel, charting my way based on the direction given by the front desk. i couldn't recall, whether it was the ATM machine or the prepaid credit that i managed to get first. but for sure the prepaid credit i bought from one of the stall next to the main road of the city of Agra. i was only trying my luck as i saw the signboard of the telco of the prepaid that i was using. perhaps...India or Agra itself was not an alien to the world, hence i didn't have any communication issue. the guy helped me to buy the credit without any fuss.
i visited the mall which located just nearby our hotel, to find the ATM as told by the front desk. ok..it was creepy, as the building was like an abandoned with only few shops that were still operating. i was hesitated actually to walk up the stairs and look for the ATM machine as told by the guard of the building, as knowing that there was almost nobody in the building, and any strangers could be a potential nemesis. luckily the ATM was located next to the entertainment centre of the mall..which i think it was the cinema, hence there was few people around the area.
once done withdraw few more rupees...well..i still got plenty that enough for me to survive for the next two days, but knowing that i might need to buy some souvenirs etc. i decided to get some more. as i was walking towards the main entrance, i saw few shops selling clothes and decided to pay a visit. and guess what, i bought a kurta...just to be worn for my OOTD for my visit to the Taj Mahal that afternoon. it was made from cotton, and reasonably priced for me.
i went back to the hotel, and had my rest while waiting for the lunch time. there was few of us that had early lunch, while half of the group went for a bit later.
we left the hotel around 2pm, if i've not mistaken to visit the Taj Mahal. as usual, we had a new tour guide. let us called him Sivaji... (sempena menghormati Rajanikath femes film..hahaha). another enthusiastic tour guide, which loved to talk and some time could be a bit controlling as he always insisted us to stay on the path i.e. and kept looking the group whereabouts etc.
orang kate...tak lengkap kalau pegi India..tak pegi Taj Mahal, eh?
we left Sivaji, after he gave us some briefing about the place and its history, and told us to meet back at the main entrance before the sunset.
i had been on the road for the past few days, visited mostly the off the grid destination from the big flock of tourists, and seeing the crowd, as well as queuing for the security screening, and then taking turn to memo-graph the place from its best angle...overwhelmed me. it was too touristy. i mean, people from all over the world were there, and finding their time and space to admire the greatness and pride of this love monument.
i was waiting for my turn to memograph Taj Mahal as above, when an oriental lady tourist was trying to cut the queue. i had to speak and told her to wait for her turn etc. but she was too impatient. i was only pressing my shutter like 2-3 times and i heard she was mumbling...excuse me excuse me etc. and trying to push us aside and made her way to the centre so that she could get the best position.
the late lady-D chair where she posed? well...jangan harap la nak dapat good shot...people was like queuing etc.
one thing that i was bit regret, as i only had my 35mm with me that day. it was hard to put everything into the perspective, and i guess, i had to play the rules of Cartier Brenson to find the right angle, eliminating things etc.
we joined the crowd, queuing and entering the mausoleum, to see how does it looked etc. well...because of no photography is allowed, you seldom or perhaps never seen people sharing the pictures etc. a friend was excited and asked me to go inside and tell her etc. and guess what - gelap jer dek non! other than you had to walk slowly due to the crowd...the dim or almost no lighting, made you wonder and left most of things for imagination. i tried to find my way out...and breathed the air of Agra again. being inside there, made me claustrophobic!
we took a ride on the horse-cart from the gate of the Taj Mahal to our bus. and it was almost dark already.
so...how do i perceive Taj Mahal from this visit?
is it love that define the greatness of this mausoleum? this Mahal? or is it purely another pride of the old kingdom ruler?people want to be there. it is among the wonders that they want to tick on their wishlist. but it puzzled my heart actually to appreciate and admire the place, as i tried to stomach the reason it was built. for love? for a pride?
nevertheless, as i mentioned, the work of the buidling still awed me at a certain magnitude especially on how symmetrical each side of it that made it look the same from all side as you approach it.
Taj Mahal? ticked!