Monday, September 5, 2016

Goa- In Monsoon

Go Goa

This was my first trip with my twin daughters; hence I packed my stuff very carefully keeping in mind all their needs. Since my twins are just one and a half years, I chose the hotel also carefully so that I do not have problem in bottle sterilizing and other stuff like that. My motto of this trip was to relax and rejuvenate, I needed a break from my monotonous life. It was after an year that I was travelling anywhere so I was a bit scared about the trip which is very unlikely of me.

The flight from Delhi to Goa takes just 2 hours and hence it was an easy journey. Though my kids got quite irritated sitting at one place, but somehow my husband and I managed. I always prefer visiting places in off time but never thought of visiting Goa in off season. However, this trip proved to be an amazing trip despite of off season. The beaches were less crowded and calm. And though it was a monsoon time, it was not humid. On the flip side, there were no water sports and night market, since Goa was flooded with water. 

Here are some reasons why one can travel to Goa in off season and that too in Monsoons-
1) Economical
The first and most beneficial part of visiting Goa in off season was it was cheap. The flight ticket from Delhi it was just 8k per person for round trip, which in peaks season varies from 15k to 25k per person. And it is not just about flight tickets even the hotel we got was super economical. A luxurious suit with a huge balcony overlooking a swimming pool and beautiful garden to sit back, sip coffee and enjoy rain. The rates were actually 50% less than the normal rates.

2) Beaches
The first beach which we visited was Baga Beech. Most popular beach of Goa and nearest from our hotel, it offers something for everyone. It is a picturesque beach with parties, music, beach shacks, karaoke, good food and is easily the most happening place in Goa.  Just adjacent to Baga beach, the Calangute beach it is a bit crowded yet beautiful sea beach. Famous for its nightlife, Calangute is has lots of famous pubs of Goa including the Tito’s and others on the Tito’s lane are located closeby. Next day we started with Candolym beach followed by Anjuna Beach. Personally my favourite was Anjuna Beach, it was peaceful and serene. It is a perfect beach to spend a peaceful evening with family.





3) A drive to South Goa
Though we would have preferred walking, but since we had two kids with us and rain was unpredictable, we chose a drive to South Goa.  We were completely mesmerized by the peaceful yet enchanting beauty of South Goa.  On one side of road there is a beautiful sea and other side is dotted with incredible houses. These houses of Portuguese era have been well preserved by the natives. These houses have the most beautiful colours and textures and are just captivating. The cool breeze of sea on my face and the sight of of these engrossing houses just made the drive one of the most beautiful drives of my life. My kids also loved the whole drive. They loved the refreshing breeze.




We also visited Dona Paula which is located just 6 km south-west of Panaji . Famous for the shooting of Singhum film, our taxi bhaiya thought that this is the best place he is showing us. It was a high tide so it looked quite beautiful, but the place was too crowded. We also visited Colva beach and Palolem beach. The Palolem beach proved to be my girls favourite though I do not know the reason why they liked this beach only. The two reason I could think of is it had lots of dogs and by this time they were fed up of being scared of huge tides. Whatever be the reason this is the only beach where they enjoyed to the fullest so much so that we had to stop them to go near the tides.  This beautiful beach is located in Canacona and about 40 minute drive from Margao. This beach is one of un-spoilt stretches of sandy shores. The inhabitants here are the local fishermen and visitors who stay in the shacks. I bought some handmade anklets from them.

4) A ride to ship/cruise  trip
Our super excited taxi bhaiya also took us to a ship ride along the Mandovi river. The Goa Tourism operates a range of entertaining hour-long cruises along the Mandovi River aboard the Santa Monica or Shantadurga . It includes a live band and that performs on Goan folk songs and dances. There are also twice-weekly, two-hour dinner cruises and a twice-weekly, all-day backwater cruise, which takes you down the Mandovi to Old Goa, stopping for lunch at a spice plantation and then heading back past Divar and Chorao Islands. All cruises depart from the Santa Monica Jetty next to the Mandovi Bridge, where you can purchase tickets.

We went to one hour trip. The most beautiful sight in this one hour trip was that there was a point where Mandovi river meets Arabian sea. Though the ship took a uturn from there I can see the change in the waves, it was a beautiful sight to see. For the first time in my life I have seen the confluence of river and sea.





5) Beautiful Churches and Fort
The most beautiful church we saw was Basilica of Bom Jesus, a remarkable church built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It is a part of UNESCO World heritage Site and it also referred as St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb. This grand church is built out of black granite in an amalgamation of the Doric, Corinthian and composite styles.




The Basilica of Bom Jesus preserves the holy remains of Goa’s patron saint Francis Xavier, who died on a sea voyage to China in 1552. Once every 10 years, the body is allowed to be viewed by the people who visit this holy place. When we went the body was resting in peace in a beautiful wooden coffin inside a corner of church where photography was prohibited.

We also saw the “Three Kings Church” known to be the most haunted place in Goa. Legend says that it is haunted and the story is that once upon a time there were three Portuguese kings living in Goa. They often used to fight to gain power in the land but they were tied by the Portuguese diplomacy between rulers policy. One of the kings (King Holger Alvunger) one day invited the other two kings in his place and poisoned them to death. He himself fell out with the public and committed suicide by consuming poison. King Holger’s place is the current Three Kings Church in Goa, where there have been reports of sightings and general unrest.

However,  the place is very scenic.  It is worth climbing the hill and getting here since one can get a breathtaking view of surrounding lush green regions and the Arabian Sea, and if you go there before sundown you will be able to enjoy a peaceful sunset. The Three Kings Church is one place to enjoy peace and pleasing natural beauty.

Another historical place is the grand Fort of Aguada at the shore of Mandovi river. It was constructed to protect old Goa from the attacks of Dutch and Marathas. A central jail and a lighthouse built during the 19th century are also located near this fort. This is presently serving as the Central Jail. Aguada Fort boasts of the first ever light house in Asia.


6) Greenery
I am not a person who loves rain, but still I fell in love with rain here.  It seemed that I have used green filter in my eyes as all I can see there is greenery. In fact if I have to define my first visit to Goa in two words then it is- ‘Green Goa’.  So, all those who loves rain must visit Goa in monsoon to see how the droplets from the sky embellish the place and makes it green, rejuvenating and pristine. It comes alive in a lush green tropical vibe and everything feels fresh, wet and clean.






Saturday, August 20, 2016

Motherhood- A Journey



It took me one and half years to start this page, although everything is well captured in my mind still its high time that I start documenting it. The journey of being a mother, it has been quite a roller coaster.

Motherhood is a journey and there is nothing called ideal here. The situation that may work for me may not work for other mothers. The moment you become a part of the 'Mother’s Club', you are officially out of the partying, social gatherings and figure-hugging dresses. Not that your friends shun you but you become so involved with your baby that either you bore them to death with talks about the colour of your baby's poo or you hardly get time to socialize and long only for sleep whenever you get any time off. Luckily, I have two great friends who took me out and help me being a part of world outside.

The most important challenge is time management, it is extremely difficult as I have twins and I am a working woman. And since my husband is working outside India, he can help with babies only occasionally. The only thing that saves me is my parents they are half the parents of my kids. In fact if I have to think of people who have right over my kids after me is my mother, she is half the mother of my kids as she has raised my kids when I was busy in my office. Since I had difficult pregnancy and a cesarean, my mother has been actively involved in first taking care of me and then taking care of my kids.



I cannot ever forget that moment when a few minutes after my delivery, the doctor bought them to me. They were wrapped in pink dress, wet hair, pink lips and white skin. That’s all I remember in that drowsiness. Since I had a cesarean, I was drowsy. Though I heard my kids crying 10 minutes back only, I think they took time to stitch me up. Doctor later told me that I was talking continuously in the operation theatre. I remember saying doctor- not to make me blind folded and increase the temperature and why are you shaking my bed, why are you taking so long, why are you pulling me here and there. Yes, indeed I was a talkative patient.


The first three months were extremely difficult. Feeding the twins at every two hours, oiling them, cleaning them made me and my mother extremely tired. It took two months for us to set our life according to baby’s routine. We could not sleep for nights and then gradually with time we became more organized, it took us time to figure it out, however we did it. We used to take charge on alternate nights so that I can sleep one night and my mother can sleep next night. We fixed this up with alternate nights and this really helped.

As time progressed, their sleeping patterns settled and we were more at ease. Though they used to sleep late, still it was much better. I recovered gradually, hence things started falling in place; I also learnt how to carry them and put them to sleep (something that used to terrify me to no end earlier as my kids were quite underweight). And the time came for me to get back to work. I joined back office though it was one of the most difficult phase of my life. Leaving three months babies at home and go to work is one of the bravest, most difficult things I have done in my life.  But I looked at the positive side (I know I am leaving them in the hands of my mother- person I trust the most.



Life has been roller coaster since then. Since it was just me and my mother taking care of the babies, my husband dropping in only once in months, I had to be extremely organized and planned. Thanks to online shopping, I have managed to take care of my babies need with just a click. From diapers, wet tissues, bottles to clothes I order everything online in bulk. It was difficult in the beginning but gradually I took the responsibility of taking care of their daily needs alone.  I also got hold of a medicine shop that delivers medicines and milk powder at home. The only time we had to go out was to get babies vaccinated that I could not arrange at home, though I tried this also.

Then came the phase when my kids started crawling, when they started crawling they started falling. Despite our trial they used to fall. So, we got our house carpeted so that when they fall they don’t hurt themselves much.

It was only after their first birthday, life became smoother. My father came back after retirement so now its not just me and my mother my father is also one of their favourite prey. My babies just love their grandfather, they are their lifeline now. Though now they are extremely naughty and playful, they show tantrums for eating food and want to go out every evening; I still love this phase. Both my babies are big time attention seeker, they love when their aunts, uncles and grandparents come to visit them.  Since they are first twins in my maternal family, they get too much attention from all close relatives and they love the attention.

I have laughed till my stomach hurt, cried, sang, danced, made all sorts of faces and ran around, done completely silly things with them and for them. Each day is a memory in itself and a new lesson is  learnt. These lessons make me learn new skills; I am no doubt a different person today. My priorities have changed, I rush home after work, cringe when there are after work parties and my weekends are all dedicated to them. It’s been ages I watched a movie in the theater, or read a book (what book, you are kidding me).

 Life has transformed in a big way and I know it will never be what it was again. But I love this new life and the person who made it so magical. I have turned one and a half years as a mother and every day I learn something new, something better, some days I fail, some days I succeed, but this journey of motherhood is extremely unpredictable, exhaustive still a blessing.




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dehradun and Mussourie

Dehradun  

This was my second trip to Dehradun and Mussourie. And though most of my trips are not planned, this trip was extremely unplanned. If I have to rate my unplanned trips, I would rate this trip on the top. It was decided an hour before, we booked the ticket in a private bus as it was the only option left at last hour and then headed to Dehradun. Delhi was boiling hot at that time and Dehradun was definitely cooler. Lying in the foothills of Himalyas, Dehradun is a great escape from Delhi, especially in summers.





The main agenda of this trip was to beat the heat and have good time with friends. The plan was to have no plan. So, we stayed at my dear friend’s place in Doon University. Morning was spent lazing around in her peaceful home, hailing from a small city, I felt as if I am at home. I sat in balcony and sipped my tea. I enjoyed greenery of forest, sound of bird’s chirping and felt cool, refreshing and relaxing breeze. After enjoying the lazy morning and a small nap, we headed to the Robert Cave. Popularly known as Guchhipani or Guchu Pani, it is one of the well-known places of Dehradun.





Located in the outskirts of the city, Guchu Pani is a must visit place to beat the heat. We parked our car and walked a kilometre inside to reach the actual sight. Basically, it is a water stream flowing amidst the hills. We held each other’s hand and got into the water. Though the water was hardly till our knee it was very cold. This was the first time I was trekking in water flowing through rock. Somewhere water was deep and somewhere it was shallow. It was a walk through the water and hence simply refreshing.  After the tiresome walk we ate Maggie and tea and relaxed our cold feet.





 Mussourie


First Visit

Like most colonial hill stations, Mussoorie has its Mall Road and that was our first destination. We walked all the way to the end, enjoying the scenery censored with buildings, electric posts and hotels. It was very misty that day and it made the place look even more beautiful. It was a beautiful weather and we enjoyed it to the fullest.  This was my first visit to any hill station of North and I went complete crazy for the place.





And then we moved to a ride to rope way to Gun Hill to further enjoy the view from top. The Ropeway distance is only 400 metres, but still it was fun. Gun Hill offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges namely Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara and Gangotri group etc. and a bird's eye view of Mussoorie town and Doon Valley. It is said that it is named Gun Hill because during pre-independence time, a gun mounted on this top used to be fired indicating mid-day to enable people to adjust their watches. There is a small market on the hill with small food outlets there. We relaxed, enjoyed the view and ate maggie and tea there.

After enjoying the Gun Hill we returned to the Mall Road in Mussoorie to shop for some local handicrafts and artefacts. The Mall Road has number of shops and showrooms offering everything from gift items to clothes, hand-made gifts and antiques.






This was my visit in 2007, and I wanted to stay there forever but unfortunately had to come back. But when I left the place I promised that I will visit this place again.

Second visit

I visited the queen of hills again in 2014, with a group of friends. Though this time I did not go to Mall Road and Rope way, we definitely enjoyed our trip. This time we went directly to Kempty Falls. We went to upper part of the falls where there were fewer tourists.  In fact when we went there, the fall was empty. Though the fall was not very huge it was good enough to enjoy. The first time I put my feet in the water I realised it was chilling like ice, but gradually I went in the fall. It was more of a group adventure. We trekked nearer to the water fall with each other’s help and managed to do photo session also. Though it was the month of May, the water was freezing cold, but then also we enjoyed our session there.  After the fun-filled session at the waterfall we felt too tiered and headed to the local food outlet and had lunch. Since it was Sunday, the hill station was swamped with visitors and could not go to any other place and headed directly to Dehradun.







SOME FACTS

  • The name of this hill station is taken from the word ‘Mansoor’ which is a shrub available in abundance here. And this is why even today many people call it Mansoori instead of Mussourie.
  • The 100 years old church which is the oldest in Himalyas the Christ Church, is in Mussourie. It is said that in the churchyard there is a deodar tree planted by Mary, Princess of Wales.
  • The first Tibetan school was established in Mussoorie in 1960.
  • Place Lal Tibba is the highest point in Mussoorie with an enormous height of 2,290 metres (7,510 ft).
  • Do not forget to enjoy the maggie and tea of the local outlet
  • Do not forget to visit the Tibetan market which has some good collection of winter wears
  • And if you are fond of getting clicked, then adorn the traditional dress of mountains and get clicked by the photographer just beside the church.

HOW TO REACH DEHRADUN

By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 54 kilometres from Mussourie.

By Train: Multiple trains run from all major cities. 

By Road: It is well-connected with all the major cities. From Delhi it will take you 8 to 9 hours to reach Dehradun.

Mussourie is just 30 minutes drive from Dehradun

With good road connectivity, you can travel by private car also-

  • Delhi- 8 hours (247 kilometres)
  • Jaipur- 12 hours (526 kilometres)
  • Agra- 10 hours (432 kilometres)
  • Chandigarh- 4 hours (180 kilometres)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Film Review- Detective Byomkesh Bakshy


Detective Byomkesh Bakshy


After a long time I enjoyed a film, in fact loved the film. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a must watch film for all those who love gripping story, impressive art direction and amazing cinematography. After his great work in films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Love, Sex Aur Dhoka or Shanghai, director Dibakar Banerjee has yet again proved that he belongs to a different league in Bollywood industry. With his excellent eye for detailing, intricate characters and plots, he has definitely created a new definition of thriller in Hindi cinema.



It is one of the films where the city becomes a character. Calcutta of 1940s is created in a beautiful way. Everything in the film like- the tram, rickshaw, old buildings, poster of films, the cigarette tin, the random man in the market with fresh fish in his hands and boarding house have been created in such a way that it depicts the city of that era in a perfect way. Vandana Kataria the production designer of the film has done an impressive work.




Cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis has shot the film in simplistic yet stylistic way. The aerial view from the roof top, the shadow picturization of fight sequence (reminds me of Sherlock Homes) the by lanes of the city and the over busy roads of Calcutta every shot has been thought upon. The use of freeze frame flash backs has also been done very effectively.  The sequence where tram moves across the city with city showing through the window with Byomkesh Bakshy sitting there in soft focus has been picturized very beautifully. It signifies the upcoming story of the dark Calcutta of that time.
The film start off as a simple story of missing father but it eventually, with different course of events takes its journey through a nexus of gangs, politics, drugs and hence unfolds a catchy story. The story is short and intriguing and the the film never looked draggy.



The music syncs well with the film. The tracks are fresh and different, it is unlike the tracks used in Bollywood. Done in collaboration with various artistes like Madboy/Mink, Ursi Banerjee, Akshay De and others, the film’s music is adds up to the overall feel of the film.

Each and every character has been very well crafted. Sushant Singh Rajput with his simple yet impressive acting has done complete justice to the role. His acting is neither under done nor overdone. His character is also not of a super hero but of a simple detective who vomits at the sight of dead body. All the supporting characters have also done justice to their roles.

So, all in all this film a must watch who loves to watch something different in Bollywood film industry.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Fatehpur Sikri

The Fatehpur Sikri

The Fatehpur Sikri was established by great mughal emperor Akbar in 16th century. It was a tribute to renowned sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti. It is said that Akbar walked barefooted from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri seeking the heir for the Mughal Empire and Salim Chisti predicted a male heir. And the prediction of the saint came true and Akbar was blessed with a son. Akbar named his son 'Salim' after the Sufi saint.

It is located at 40 kilometres from Agra. The credit of visiting the city goes to my father who was very keen on visiting the city. And though I was not much interested in visiting this city after the exhausting Agra trip a day before, I loved the city. We headed to Fatehpur Sikri Fort complex which is dotted by several architectural marvels soon after our breakfast.




Though our guide gave a lot of information but only few seemed true. The first place we saw was Diwan-e-aam, the hall of public audience that was used for public meetings and celebrations; its construction is very much similar to Diwan-e-aam of Red Fort of Delhi. Then we headed to Diwan-e-khas, the hall that was used for private meetings, there is a beautifully carved pillar in the centre of this hall. One very interesting thing in front of the Diwan-e-khas, is a life-size board for a game of Pacchisi (a precursor to Ludo), where human figures were used as the pieces and were moved by the direction of its players. What royalty and grandness the Mughals lived their life in.



Then we headed to the three small structures. Our guide said that since Emperor Akbar had three favourite wives, one of whom was Hindu, one Muslim and one Christian, he built one palace in name of each of his wives. Though I have never read this version of story in any of the Mughal books I have read.

Panch Mahal, whose photo is shown in the tourist book’s pages is a five storeyed building a place for recreation and relaxation for the royal family. The structure has been so designed that each story is pillared and is smaller than the other as you move upwards. Though now it is not allowed to climb up this structure. While no less than 84 columns support the ground floor, the uppermost domed floor has only 4 columns. The whole structure is only pillared without any enclosed wall and hence very airy. It is said that it was styled to give relief from the scorching summers of Agra and never used for residential purpose.



The Turkish Sultana’s House is one of the most ornamented buildings of this complex. Each and Every inch of this building is beautifully carved and designed. Though there is not much story about who Turkish Sultana was, but our guide said she was one of the wives of Akbar. It is a small structure surrounded by a verandah, but designed very intricately.




Just adjacent to the Turkish Sultana’s House is Anup Talao. This is actually a pool with a raised platform built by red sandstone and surrounded by stone jalis in its centre. There are four paths from four directions that connect this raised platform to the sides of the pool. Our guide has one more story to say about this pool, don’t know how much it is true. But according to our guide- this pool was once filled with coins and ornaments during the Mughal Era and when the rays of sun falls on this pool it created a visual treat. Today, despite being a part of world heritage the water in the pool is dirty and no one can enter the raised platform in the centre of the pool.




Then there is Jama Masjid and Sheikh Salim Chisti’s Tomb. The Jama Masjid is a beautiful and grand masjid. There are two entrances for this masjid, one is from Buland Darwaza, through which we entered and other one is through The King’s Gate (Badshahi Darwaja). It is said that Bulund Darwaza is said be raised in 1602 AD to celebrate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat. We entered through Buland Darwaza. 







The Sheikh Salim Chisti’s Tomb is one of the most revered Sufi shrines of India. People from all religions come here to seek blessings and it is believed that their wished will be granted. And though all the other structure of this complex is made of red stone, the tomb is made of white marble. It is enclosed by beautiful marble jalis where people tie thread and ask for the blessings of the Sufi saint. This tomb is very serene and beautiful.


Fatehpur Sikri remained the capital of Mughal Empire during the era of Akbar for 14 years. But then due to the acute water shortage in the region, it was abandoned by Mughals. 




Monday, November 24, 2014

The Taj Mahal & Agra Fort


Agra

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy city, lies one of the most visited and photographed monument of the world. Yes, I am talking about none other than the Taj Mahal. The symbol of love, Taj Mahal is located in the historical city of Agra that lies just 200 km from Delhi. And though I have visited there twice, I will visit the city again (and then I will post better pics). I always knew Agra was a centre of power during the time of Mughal rule, after reading a book recently on Mughals I realized a lot of politics and power revolved around Agra and hence this post.

The 197 km Delhi- Agra expressway is a smooth and easiest way to reach Agra from Delhi. In 2 hours we reached Agra and that too was a comfortable and pleasurable drive with two halts in between. Though most of the times I prefer a journey from train, this expressway is recommendable for a road journey.

Our first destination in Agra was Agra Fort. Personally I felt the magnificent Agra fort is quite underrated. I loved the fort more than Delhi’s Red fort. This architectural beauty was built by Akbar between 1565 and 1574, who chose Agra as his capital. Built of red-sandstone fort, on the bank of the Yamuna River it is spread in 2.5 kilometers. This fort houses number structures and masjids. There is a city within a city in this fort. Diwan-Khas, Diwae-e-Aam, Moti Masjid, Nagina Masjid, Sheesha Mahal are some names that I remember. Most of them are made of red sandstone or marble, and has beautiful carvings on it. If you are fond of Mughal architecture like me then you are going to love this fort. There is serenity, calmness and most importantly the royalty in this fort, which makes it worth visiting.





Though there are versions of stories told by guide there, only few sounded real. So, I would suggest all the visitors not to trust the guides there. The only real story told by our guide was of Musamman Burj and Khas Mahal, the magnificent white-marble octagonal tower and palace where Shah Jahan was imprisoned for eight years until his death in 1666, and from where he could gaze out at the Taj Mahal, the tomb of his wife. When he died, Shah Jahan’s body was taken from here by boat to the Taj. The now closed Mina Masjid, set back slightly from the eastern edge, was his private mosque. This version of story is believable as I have read this in two of the books on Mughals.

The fort is huge and it will take half of your day if you want to visit this fort properly. Moreover, you have to be rough and tough to visit this fort as it requires too much f walking. I was quite tired after the visit, hence it took a break had lunch and then headed to The Taj Mahal.



The Taj Mahal is just 15 minutes from the Agra Fort. Do not get surprised by the entrance of the The Taj Mahal as you have to cross sloppy roads, lack of traffic management system and hoards of shops before entering this beautiful mausoleum.  But as soon as you will enter here you are bound to be lost in its beauty.

Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife, Arjumand Bano better known Mumtaj Mahal, this is an epitome of love. It is said that it took over 20,000 skilled workers from across the country, working day and night, for 22 years for this architectural wonder to be created. Though with the passage of time and pollution the whiteness of the marble is reduced, still is a perfect example of grace, symmetry and beauty.





As I get nearer to the tomb my appreciation deepened; from a closer vantage point, the fact that the entire building is made out of white marble becomes more and more apparent and the way it’s intricately designed is simply spectacular.

The most interesting fact that our guide told us is about the four minarets. These four minarets are perfectly symmetrical to each other and they are constructed slightly outside the platform so that in case of natural calamity like earthquake the minarets will fall away from the tomb and there by leaving the main complex unaffected. Such was the farsightedness of the constructor.  



The walls of the tomb are beautifully carved with calligraphy and inlaid design of flowers.  I just sat at the e back side of the Taj Mahal where river Yamuna flows, and let the cool breeze refresh me from the day’s tiredness.  By this time the sun was already setting the whole ambience just let me forget that I was tiered. The whole feeling was simply rejuvenating.




To the west of the Taj Mahal is a Masjid built by Isa Muhammed and plays an important part in the overall design. It is made from red sandstone and very serene. The design of the floor of the mosque is in the shape of prayer mats. And to create a symmetrical effect, a guest house, which is of similar proportions and appearance to the mosque, was built to the east of the Taj Mahal tomb. The main difference in the guest house and Masjid is the interior of the Masjid that has Mihrab and Minbar. The Mihrab is a niche which indicates the direction of Mecca and the direction in which Muslims face to perform their prayers or salah. Circling the Mihrab are calligraphic inscriptions taken from Sura 91, The Sun, from the holy book of the Qur'an. Sitting by the Masjid near the Yamuna makes marveling the Taj a jaw-dropping experience.



Though I wanted to stay there longer, just wanted to relax and enjoy the cool breeze, the visiting time was getting over. So, with heavy heart and a determination that I will come here again I left the tomb.

Just to sum up the whole experience, there are few words of caution while visiting Agra.
  • Be ready of the dirt and shoddy roads
  • Beware of pickpockets
  • The roadside sellers are very pushy and it is quite difficult to shake them off.
  • Remember to always bargain and slash the price as low as possible, because the prices quoted have been inflated many times
  • Do not give your valuables to guide