We arrived at New Delhi on Friday early morning after a tiring trip. My family offered us a driver for 3 days and great hotels. The driver was at the airport with our names on a sign!
We started the day by visiting 2 places. The first one was a Sikh temple. Nowadays this religion represents only 1.8% of Indian people. We also visited the kitchen which is served to offer up to 30,000 meals per day!
The second one was the Jama Masjid mosque. The atmosphere was nice, not too many people at 7am!
We then hit the road to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. I have been waiting for so long to visit it, definitely one of my dreams and on my bucket list. The road was not too bad, we took approximately 4 hours on a highway.
We first visited the Red Fort of Agra. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. From there, we had a view on the Taj Mahal. Even if the monument was quite far from the Fort, the first sight was incredible: we’re here! The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located on the south bank of the Yamuna river. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Therefore, this is the symbol of love represented by Mughal architecture.
It is the raining season and despite the weather not being great, it was still pretty and colourful.
At the end of the afternoon, we went to Mehtab Bagh gardens where we could see the Taj Mahal from the other side of the river. We spent at least an hour there.
4th of August, it is my birthday! We woke up very early (5am) to see the sunrise on the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, it was raining a little bit but we were still very impressed. We have been enchanted by the place and we took so many pictures.
We visited the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah in the afternoon, also called “baby Taj” as it is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal. The place is peaceful and on the Yumana river bank.
After a refreshing swim in the hotel's pool and 1.5 hour massage, the birthday night started! We went to 2 different places: the first one was the Oberoi hotel, the best one in Agra. It offers a direct view on the Taj Mahal. We had some very romantic drinks at sunset. We then went to ITC Mughal hotel, at the Pechawri restaurant. The food was amazing and we had a naan to die for! We ate everything with our hands of course. The highlight was definitely the birthday cake ordered by Édouard.
Our first days in India were very successful. Yes it is messy and dirty (we even saw someone doing a U turn on the highway!) but not as much as expected. Maybe Rajasthan will be worst... The atmosphere is unique, there are cows, monkeys and peacocks in the middle of the streets everywhere. Can't wait to discover more of this country!