Agra, 2017: Butter Chicken, Naan and Mughal Architecture

Agra, 2017: Butter Chicken, Naan and Mughal Architecture

Platform number 5. Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station. Purani Dilli. It was 7.30 AM in the morning. We had just gulped down two cups of masala chai for breakfast. Two hours later, a smooth train ride took us to Agra. As soon as we walked out of the train station, we were haggled, over and over again — taxi drivers promised to take us to the Taj Mahal for 20 Indian Rupees. We had prearranged our taxi to our guesthouse. However, our Indian SIM card was not yet activated. That’s when an Indian guy phoned our guesthouse on behalf of us. A few minutes later, our driver found us and took us to what happened to be the warmest place we stayed in India. (Also read: Learning the art of slow living in Manali)

When you travel, or in life in general, people shape your stories. People — they add color to your stories. We humans have this enormous ability to change or break someone. We have the ability to change someone else’s story more than anything else. To us, Nuwara Eliya wouldn’t be our favorite mountain hamlet if we didn’t get the opportunity to share riddles with a seven-year-old in her living room. Dharamkot quite wouldn’t be the same place if we didn’t stay at this one mountain adobe where we were treated to garam garam chai by our caretakers. We felt the same in Agra. Looking back now, Agra wouldn’t be a place we loved if it wasn’t for our amazing guesthouse people. Perhaps, we wouldn’t have loved it if we were haggled and cheated on the very first occasion. Instead, Max, our host took great care of us. We devoured his mum’s butter chicken curry with naan for dinner, one portion of biryani, and many cups of chai.

Agra beyond the Taj Mahal

We only had 24 hours in Agra. while we obviously wanted to see the beautiful Taj Mahal, we also wanted to have a glimpse of other places in Agra. In less than 24 hours, we did an #AgraBeyondTheTaj but, even today, seeing Nathan being emotional at the Taj — that, boy, that remains as one of the most cherishable memories of mine. Taj was his dream. He, Nathan, this boy I call my better half (and the other half aka the photographer of this blog) lived five years in India. Five long years. He, however, had never seen the Taj until I planned this trip to Agra. And when he finally saw it, he shed a tear. Perhaps, two. He was emotional. He kept looking at this magnificent architectural wonder for hours and hours since the sun shone through the thick layer of smog. It was beautiful. Beautiful beyond words.

If you want to know what it feels like to visit the Taj Mahal, Reading The Book has written a blog post about it here.

We will never know how Agra skies looked like before they were covered by a thick layer of smog. But we will always cherish the warmth of the people, tiny beautiful details and the one plate of butter chicken we had for dinner — rich in taste, and oozing with ghee.

Agra Fort

Travel Guide AgraAgra FortAgra NatnZin TravelTravel Agra FortOff Beat Agra Travel

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj)

Baby Taj Travel GuideBaby Taj BlogTomb of I'timād-ud-DaulahAn off beat travel guide to Agra

Mehtab Bagh

Mehtab Bagh Travel Guide

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Travel GuideTaj Mahal Travel BlogAn Instagrammable Travel Guide to Taj Mahal, Agra, IndiaAgra Taj Mahal InsideAgra Taj Mahal

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri Travel BlogHow to travel to Fatehpur Sikri from AgraA travel blog about Fatehpur SikriJodha Bai Ka Rauza

Read more about Agra and India’s Golden Triangle on this amazing blog post 


Practical Information

How to get to Agra

We boarded the Gaatiman Express Train from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in Old Delhi. It’s air-conditioned, and currently India’s fastest train. You also get a snack box onboard. Alternatively, you can board any other train going to Agra but the journey could be a little slower.

Where to stay in Agra

We stayed at Max Guesthouse. It was amazing. The rooms are spotlessly clean and for the price, you have everything you need. The meal prices are reasonable and Max is always there to take care of everything you need.



20 thoughts on “Agra, 2017: Butter Chicken, Naan and Mughal Architecture”

    • Thank you so much, Dee. India is a continent itself and we often feel bad when people generalize it. We hope you get to visit India soon. xx

  • I love that you have shown that there is more to India than just the Taj Mahal, it really does have an impressive range of beautiful buildings, what would you call that style of building do you know? I was most entranced by the design of the Agra Fort and can imagine how much history and culture lies beyond those walls.

  • I would love to go there and explore what else Agra can offer. These structures are so stunning, it’s definitely worth seeing! It would also be nice to see the Taj Mahal.

  • It just amazes me to see such intricate detail in the facade and the interior of these buildings. That must be so labor intensive. Nevertheless, I am thankful that these structures are still here for us to enjoy and marvel at. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos.

  • What a beautifully written post. The photos are exquisite and truly capture the essence of Agra. What a beauty! And you are right…people do shape/change our experiences in some way. They have an influence somehow in the course of action we take. It sounds like you guys had an amazing trip. The Taj Mahal is certainly a place I want to visit. Bucket list! Thanks for sharing guys!

  • OMG these are so gorgeous! How I wish to travel to India, and include Agra to my itinerary. Are the stones used in building these structures natural colored pink?

  • Looks like you had such a great time in Agra! All those architectures are just surreal and you have captured them beautifully in your pictures!

  • All of the pictures of the Taj Majal are simply stunning. I know they call it one of the seven wonders of the world. But I can see why now. Just the intricate nature of the architecture astounds me. So beautiful.

  • I love India’s architecture! The buildings are so beautiful and ornately decorated, they are just gorgeous! So nice to hear Nathan finally got to see the Taj Mahal in person, that had to have been such a magical moment for you both.

  • I love your photos! When we travel, we love places that speak about the culture, art, and architecture of a country more than shopping. Seems like Agra is rich in all these. 😀 Would make a nice a stopover.

  • Agra is beautiful, isn’t it? India’s Islamic architecture is remarkable…I wish the government would be a little kinder to our built heritage. And you are right…so much depends on the interactions we have with people we meet on our travels. I thought my trip to Houston was a disaster till I spent over an hour chatting with the owner of the hostel about her art collection.
    I’d love to invite you to Calcutta. I’m sure you’ll love the city!

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