I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published July 19th 2014
The Taj Mahal's beautiful neighbour
Thousands of tourists flock to Agra every year to the see the exquisite architecture of the Taj Mahal and unfortunately (or fortunately for you, now I'm letting you in on the secret) very few have heard of the Agra Fort, just around the corner, a mere seven minutes away.
Whilst the Agra Fort is the lesser known of the two, it is just as spectacular, and I might even suggest that wandering its various courtyards is perhaps more interesting than at its famous neighbor.
I would recommend viewing the Agra Fort early in the morning whilst the majority of unaware tourists are fighting their way through the crowds at the Taj, you can always visit there in the afternoon and watch a gorgeous sunset anyway.
When you first arrive at the Agra Fort you are greeted by intimidating walls and a deep moat that once held crocodiles and other beasts used to guard this historic building. Now however it is guarded by very friendly Indian palm squirrels who are more than willing to let you pass.
There are guides at the entrance willing to lead you through the maze of rooms and courtyards, and it is definitely worth the extra cost (and a small customary tip) to gain some insight on the history of the building. Our amazing guide explained the religious significance of the symbols carved into the red rock, why there was a stone hot tub in the middle of the lawn and clarified how air-conditioning still worked in the time before electricity.
He even showed us his wicked magic trick; he took us to an East-facing balcony so we could marvel at the Taj Mahal in the distance. Then he made us turn around and walk away from the Taj, ensuring we didn't look back. Finally when we were given the all clear to turn around it looked like the Taj Mahal had movedů. CLOSER! You have to see it to believe it!
The Magic Trick
I'll promise you, that if you travel to Agra and only see the Taj Mahal you are going to want to come back.