| Contact
Home Quick Links Explore States Explore Themes Exclusive Services Maps of India Responsible Tourism Package Tours Accommodation
  Live Experiences
By Mr. Kumar ALFA
More Experiences
View of Tajmahal

India’s marvelous marble mausoleum has instant magnetic effect. One of the Seven Wonders of the World and the country’s number one show piece, it is located 200 kms south of Delhi. It is a long, arduous journey, even though one has the privilege to pass through a national highway having four lanes.


My advance reading reveals that only one out of eleven travellers globally visits TM. Nevertheless, 90% of the domestic tourists do not give it a miss. There is a need, therefore, for tourism campaigners in India to wake up and sell this priceless product. They are in dire need of an overhaul.


One is sure of one thing associated with Taj – its aura, charm, mesmerism, the refreshing and soothing effect it has on you - in the morning, noon, evening or a full moon night.


On 4th Feb. 2012, subsequent to facing a bit of warmth and inhaling some dust of subsiding winter, at the first instance, it was refreshing to see the Tomb of Akbar the Great at Sikandra. Leisurely we took photos of a very well kept monument. Presence of a few visitors facilitated access to the elaborate carvings on the minarets & the prominent, attractive calligraphy. On the contrary, it is sad to see an old lady begging and some tussle in a foul language between the local transporters over flimsy grounds.


Within a few minutes we turn right from a ‘chowk’ leading to one and only Tajmahal (TM), India’s best heritage and architectural show piece for the world.

One of the several bridges on the way, it appears, has been added recently. The whole setting is congested. It wasn’t there in Oct ’2003 when I visited TM with D.T. and now late Ankoor. I remember and pray for him before proceeding further.

After two kms we have a breath of fresh air when we come across fairly wide and green four lane road along the Agra Fort. In the changed situation, we pull down window pane to catch the first glimpse of TM. Reaction on the part of ever smiling Dips cannot be described. He was simply overwhelmed and bowled over. We manage to take four to five photos but these turn out to be blurred and gloomy owing to preponderance of fog. On the contrary, the snaps of neighbouring Agra Fort, a pinkish red sand stone marvel come out well. A close up of marble room on the edge is worth mentioning as Emperor Shahjahan was held captive therein by his son Aurangjeb. Legend has it that he begged to be kept in this corner to enable him to see the Mausoleum of his wife Mumtaj Mahal every day.


Due to paucity of time, we take a U-turn from the main parking area of TM. While we retreat, the haze over marble wonder of the world has descended a bit. But it is too late to revive our spirits and desire to see TAJMAHAL in its pristine glory.


x x x x x x x x x x x x


A fresh opportunity to have a brush with the Taj comes on 18th February. I get down to Agra Cantt. at 11.45 Hrs. from 12808 Samta Express. Approach to the station is dirty and full of poly bags. People defecating in the open, without any regret or shame bring in more of embarrassment. When the train had slowed down, urchins and teenagers were also seen jumping to bogies, presumably for a free ride.


Once outside, weather appears congenial. There is nothing noteworthy about the station. Usual fiefdom of taxi, three wheeler drivers and rickshaw pullers is visible. There is no trace or impact of Taj Mahal on the façade of station building unlike the magnificent stations of Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and Allahabad.


Upon successfully negotiating the congestion in the outskirts, we enter clean parts of Taj city. Good signages but of low height welcome the visitors. I wish uniformity is maintained when it comes to colour scheme or size of hoardings or mile posts. There is a plethora of hotels, restaurants, travel agents and currency exchanges. One can also see riot of colours when bag packer foreigners rub shoulders with local semi-urban populace.

Good sights of the city turn out to be a temporary phenomenon. Before sensing a shred of traffic jam, we are lucky to get a glimpse of Taj. The view is better as compared to the earlier one. As a result, six to eight shots are possible. Getting close to the Yamuna was a good decision from photographic point of view but it turned out to be a disaster from the environmental angle. Dedicated and reliable Deepankar accompanying me too nods his head. It seems as if Agra & Delhi are having a cut throat competition to pollute the river. After a drive of almost two kms. one cannot locate any effluent treatment plant.


While being trapped in traffic for more than an hour one notices the following: people lack civic sense, traffic police constables are conspicuous by their absence, noise pollution is extraordinarily high, strong nexus between agents, touts, transporters and hoteliers of different hues results into compromising country’s prestige, people do everything on the road from basking in sun, washing clothes, taking bath to hanging their under garments, etc.


All means of transport, viz, buses, trucks, cars, vans, SUV’s, rickshaws, cycles, scooters, mobikes, tractors and three-wheelers compete with each other for a space on road. Practically every known business is carried out along Jeevani Mandi Road with scant regard to two World Heritage sites.


Before departing, one learns with satisfaction that the magnitude of congestion and pollution in this part is much lower subsequent to some courageous and path-breaking initiatives taken by the District administration and the Supreme Court a few years ago.


All said and done, it is believed that second or third visit to a tourist spot or a monument is a friendly encounter. Apart from fine tuning knowledge, it reignites the emotions. I can candidly and confidently surmise that after this visit to Taj, substantial value was added to my cognitive and sensorial responses. At least there was fresh impetus to draw inspiration from one’s heritage and maintain a positive and optimistic approach to move ahead.

|  All Rights Reserved © indiatourismecatalog.com  |