25 Dec Getting to Agra & The Taj Mahal
Our flight from Varanassi to Agra had been delayed. This wasn’t actually communicated to anyone. All the passengers surrounding the gate would meander off to check out the screen which kept pushing back the departure time and after three hours and no explanation the would be passengers were getting restless. This was unheard of to us as we are so used to being informed.
This was starting to be amusing as two hours later and people were demanding to have information about the flight and its status. There wasn’t an agent or anyone around that anyone could speak to. An agent was found and immediately he picked up the phone and called for someone else. When he told us to watch the board for updates an older Indian women lead the pack insisting that someone who knew what was going on come down because we had been waiting for hours now. The entertainment continued as a manager came down to talk to us and was greeted before he reached the gate by what was now a mob of people who would not be ignored. The manager retreated behind a glass door that would lead to the entrance of the airplane. Correction: He attempted to retreat however the angry mob kept a foot in the door as they continued their demand to know what was going on with our flight. Drink coupons for coffee and breakfast were given to the passengers and within an hour we were boarding the plane. My mom and I just shook our heads as this would and could never happen at home.
The Taj Mahal and apparent separation of tourists and locals
Ticket prices to visit the Taj Mahal vary dramatically and I would expect the experience would too. Entry price: locals- 20 rupees, foreigners 750 rupees. There were other differences that stood out to me while visiting the site. The east gate ticket box is inconveniently 1km from where the Taj entrance is. A bus shuttles tourists to and from all day. What about the locals?? They get to walk. When entering into the mausoleum the tourists can go in at will while there is a ridiculous queue for the locals. Indians don’t seem to be to good at the whole concept of the queue or waiting in lines and often barrel themselves to wherever it is they are trying to go. The queue was so massive that this was only apparent when people were at the entrance and allowed into the mausoleum. Indian men aggressively shoved their way in and the Indian women followed suit.
The Taj Mahal in all its grandeur and glory is truly magnificent. The story and architecture are inspiring. Such attention to detail that pictures don’t do it justice. Not to be missed in Agra, there is a reason it is a wonder of the world.