Ok, so it’s not the real reason we came to India, but the Taj Mahal was the only landmark we knew we needed to see for sure. We arrived in Agra late one Thursday evening on a the train from Jaipur, checked into our hostel, and found out that we managed to pick the one day of the week the Taj is closed.
We were planning to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise and then head to New Delhi to stay with our friend Lehar’s aunt and uncle, but we had to change our plans since we couldn’t NOT see the Taj. Instead we booked one more night and walked around the city to see what Agra had to offer. And what might that be? Smog, trash, and not much else. Aside from the Taj, Agra is a dump. We thought about taking a short cruise on the river, but after seeing the river - no thanks. On a positive note, we were able to try some of the local candies Agra is famous for called petha, and - with some careful framing - we took a few nice photos of the Taj at sunset along the river.
The next morning, we woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at six am to get in line to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Turns out, every other tourist had read that they too could beat the crowds if they arrived for sunrise. Similar to “sunrise” in Jaipur, the sun really just appears through the smog so we didn’t get any dramatic pictures of the sun rising over the Taj. The building itself is still impressive and beautiful, and we joined the crowd in taking way too many pictures from every angle. After a couple hours we had seen our fill and were ready to head out. We also noticed that there were no lines when we left the park at 9 am. We totally could have slept in!