A ridiculously early start for the second morning running. This time to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. As it had rained on our way to Agra we had opted to see it at sunrise not sunset. Leaving the hotel at 5:45am it was light, relatively cooler and the streets were quiet. Our walk down the road to the nearest point that vehicles can get to the Taj (it got discoloured by pollution so they had to clean it with some ancient recipe, now polluting vehicles aren’t allowed within a couple of hundred metres) was really enjoyable.
There was no queue at the ticket booth so we quickly had our (expensive 750 rupee) tickets and had collected our ‘free’ shoe covers and bottle of water. We joined the ladies queue to go through the security check. The gates opened at 6am and of course we were in the shortest queue. We had been told by our driver that certain things (such as knives and food) are not allowed – but as we went through the bag check Marie was told her torch was not allowed and neither was her gorilla tripod. A police officer then said yes he would permit the torch and that he would look after the tripod saving us from either binning it or heading back out to put it in a locker somewhere then to queue again. We were appropriately grateful for letting the torch in and he took the tripod and threw it up into an alcove for us to collect later.
The crowds were not bad at all and as we entered we got a full panoramic view of the ghostly building. Initially the light was not that strong making photos difficult as it is looks like an apparition but we took our time to take this initial view in and appreciate the scale of the place. It is as magnificent as you imagine.
As the sun slowly emerged the air got steamy and we took a closer look at the amazing detail. There are some really neat things about it’s construction aside from its incredible beauty – the text that runs up to frame the doorway does not look smaller the further away it is from you, that’s because they made the text bigger at the top so as you look up you can still read it. Six sided columns become 4 sided with the detailed decoration making it look all the same. Aside from the classic shots across the gardens we were really interested in some other views and the details of the architecture.
The sun rose to give a really nice light (and made us incredibly sweaty as the wet grass dried out) and revealed just how white and beautiful it is. We spent a good while wandering around slowly and taking it in.
By the time we walked back to the hotel the streets had come alive again, breakfast at the hotel was spicy pasta or curry (neither of which we were impressed with), baked beans and a boiled egg – not the continental breakfast we were supposed to get but we ate knowing we probably wouldn’t want lunch as it would be too hot.
Click on any image to enlarge and scroll through