“The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.” “Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle...
The Gr8 Road Trip: NH2, Agra and a tryst with history!Neeraj
It was the 2nd of June when I was conveyed that decision on our selection was put in the cupborad due to some internal problems. The whole next week was spent by me in the township of Kendriya Vihar in Gurgaon doing nothing but sleeping and lazying (if this word actually exists, I’m not sure) and of course eating Aloo paranthas (no one @home so had to fill up with that godforsaken stuff!). And yeah I worked on a story which has attracted the maximum traffic till date on my blog site, the gr8 day spent at McKinsey&Co. (atleast something worthwhile came out) It was Friday and my beloved brother-in-law a driving freak planned a drive down trip anywhere within 200 kms of the great New Delhi. I was naturally excited after a dumb week in the city of Gurgaon, where traveling to cash rich people means driving down to the nearest mall (cause there’s nothing actually around) and wash away a part of their hard earned earnings to these glut mall owners who seem to be wanting anything but money. (If only they read this crude definition of Gurgaon beware I don’t think I should be travelling to Gurgaon anymore! ;-(
So we finally decided we were going down to Agra. Yes the city known for Taj Mahal, which was recently reinstated in the Seven Wonders of the World courtesy the 100 billion Indian population texting! Another of my jiju’s cousin, Sonal had joined us. So we quickly logged on the internet and looked out for the Google’s map for Agra from Gurgaon. God, these Google people come out with some really innovative stuff. A second and it shows all the roads, by lanes from anywhere to everywhere. So we quickly sorted out the route. Okies instead of going to Delhi we can take a road to Faridabad via Sohna rd. and then reach Ballabhgarh and then we are on the great historic NH2 (which in olden times ran from Lahore to Dhaka via Indraprastha) which takes us straight to Agra not before touching Mathura, the birthplace of the our beloved Lord Krishna, the great flirt in his youth but who also gave us the best lessons in our religious scriptures the revered Bhagwad Gita which everyone must abide to. (Or atleast try to)
So our Road Trip was supposed to begin on Saturday, the next morning at 6!
Next morning at 6 everyone was sleeping! It was only at around 8 that everyone gained consciousness I guess, then it was not before 10 that we left, a good 4 hours off schedule. I was naturally excited because I love Road Trips, Travelling or anything you can remotely associate with trekking. So we embarked on one helluva journey in the grey colored Maruti Zen that my jiju owns which was registered in Andhra Pradesh, being run in Haryana and now was gonna go via Delhi to Uttar Pradesh.
For me it also provided an opportunity to hone my photographic skills, which is another of my interests and I was guessing if I would be able to capture some real good stuff. I had always loved capturing nature, routine innovative and artistic stuff rather than humans in my snaps! So what? Nothing. So our trip started, and I was in possession of a relative mean machine a Sony Cybershot.
We reached Agra around 3 in the evening. On the way we halted mid way near Mathura. Had a quick lunch. Took a few snaps from the car itself. Explored the great Mathura refinery and took a few snaps (hoping these were not the last snaps of a working refinery, because the way these oil marketing companies are losing money, it may not be very long before they might close down!). We did touch the holy city of Mathura but only from the outside. Though we could see the Krishna Janmabhoomi (Lord Krishna’s birthplace) and a mosque next to it from the highway, soaked in a serene calmness and perfect example of the secularism that prevails in our country no matter what people say or think.
It was soon afterwards we touched the capital of the Great Mohammed Jallaludin Akbar. The first historic place we hit was his tomb itself, Sikandra. Took a few snaps, yup did have a look at the tomb also! It was the great Akbar’s idea to order his peers to keep his grave to the simple, the way he lived and brought about peace and brotherhood during his rule. On the way we decided let us drive back home the same night unlike what we had earlier planned to stay a day and start next day. So we quickly had to finish Agra fort and of course the Taj Mahal. Soon we reached the Agra fort, to make it clear it was not my first time in Agra. I had earlier been to all these places during my class X tour and had another helluva trip that time.
Yeah and the last time I came to Agra, one guide (it’s a major lucrative employment taken by the youth over here, who would drive you nuts with their crazy history stuff! Which could possibly be way off mark, and more importantly they will give you some raw and hard to digest spicy trivial tidbits about the city) told me that AGRA got its name from AA- GIRA meaning come and fall, because in olden times it was famous for Pick-Pocketers, so you come and your wallet falls, oh ho now I get the logic. (This fact may be untrue for above stated reasons).
Moreover if these guides drive you crazy and insane then you have a world-class place to get yourself treated in Agra the Agra Mental Hospital!
Jodha-Akbar, seen that movie twice I guess. It was so fresh in my memory that I could relate to all the stuff this time more easily.
At the Agra fort: hey! Look this is the entrance where Aishwarya Rai went through when she first came to Agra after getting married to Hrithik. Hey look this is the place where Hrithik pushed MahaManga’s son after he got nuts and killed the WAZIR! Hey look this is the place where he wooed Ash by flaunting his muskills (muscles). And yeah that’s the court house, Diwan-e-am, now I see… So we quickly went through the Agra fort. We came out by 6, had exactly half an hour before we could reach Taj Mahal before they let in the final batch of people and close for the day.
Yeah had one helluva time there. Because they don’t let in any polluting vehicles near the TajMahal, we had to take a camel cart till the entrance about a kilometer from the parking. So I could not imagine the frail looking camel buddy pushing four of us (jiju, his cousin, sis, and me) and the master around. Strange medieval ride in Modern times, surely cutting down global warming but lame and against animal rights, to be honest I’m against such practices.
No wonder we reached Taj Mahal, it was the worst I’d seen of it. It was not as beautiful as was on my previous trip, had turned blacker than ever, courtesy Ms. Mayawati, Mathura Refinery and all the brilliant people around in our country holding top positions. However it was good. I could see people involved with guides more keen on remembering that Babar was Humayun’s godforsaken father, whose great son Akbar had ruled this place and brought to India the concept of secularism and brotherhood, his son Jahangir who went against his father to woo Anarkali, and then came Shahjahan who’d spent a billion bucks constructing this magnificent building and many more, completely draining the Mughal’s budget on his beloved (citation required) and then his dim witched moron son Aurangzeb who would plan out complete capture of India and see the downfall of the Mughal empire. Between all this we were taking a lot of snaps (before TajMahal white marbles turn into Grey marbles).
I rushed towards the back side of the TajMahal to catch a glimpse of the great Yamuna River, which seemed to attract me more than Taj Mahal! It was a lovely sight; I just wondered how wonderful it must have been, when there would have been greenery all around, and the river flowing to its complete freedom, unhindered by dams and pollution. No wonder Shahjahan though a spendthrift had a great penchant for artistic and natural beauty and planned a perfect place to build a tomb for his wife.
Finally we were outta that place, and headed back to Gurgaon via Delhi this time. We had a great time driving back to Gurgaon. Overall it was a memorable trip.