India is associated with Taj Mahal. People come from thousands of miles just to visit this place. And guess what, I hadn’t yet. So this Diwali break, we made a plan of literally three days (dad had a flight to the U.S.) to touch base, see the Taj Mahal, eat Pethas and pretty much just chill for the rest of the time that we had there (which wasn’t much AHAH).
Saturday, 29th Oct
A 7:30am Vistara flight took us to Delhi, where we met our driver and head out on what was supposed to be a 3-hour journey to Agra. We thought we’d reach by 1 but to our dismay, the journey took us more than 5 hours and we were nowhere near Agra until 4:30.
We decided to not go to the Taj Mahal on that day and just go shopping. And boy, was it fun! Our first stop was a Marble Emporium which had the largest Taj Mahal model ever. It was made out of Marble and the intricate design was just the same.
They showed us what the actual Mahal would look like on a Purnima, or a full moon night, and it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. People could view this magic by paying some fee and there were restrictions on the number of people allowed. Unfortunately for us, there was no full-moon night until the 15th of November.
Next, we went to the main market there – Sadar Bazaar – which was nothing but a street with one side full of shops. Because it was Diwali the next day, the shops were decorated with colourful string lights. The vibrant yet calming (what?) vibe made me want to explore this bazaar more.
We saw a couple of ethnic shoe stalls but what caught my eye was this entire lane of – guess what – FOODSTALLS! The Pani – Puris looked too inviting to deny. But, this time, we had a Puri made out of wheat and it tasted different, but it was really good! We had dinner at a South Indian restaurant called Dasaprakash and headed back towards our hotel, The Grand Imperial, a heritage hotel. It was gorgeous! Our room – the prince suite – also specifically called the Emperor Akbar room, was very, very pretty. The old red-brick walls made me want to stay there forever.
The day ended with a good night’s sleep. We needed that since we were to wake up early for the seventh-wonder of the world – the Taj Mahal!
Hope you had a great Diwali!