3/12/09

Taj Mahal During Full Moon

Full moon view

We were escorted by vigilant police officers, one of whom was holding a huge flashlight. "Carrrefully sirrr!", the officer says as we were entering a partially darkened massive gateway leading to our ultimate destination. We only have 30 minutes to view it. Under the light of a glorious full moon, we all looked at the same direction, entranced, bewitched, and excited. There it is, the Taj Mahal.

I'm fortunate that my visit to India coincided with the full moon so I made sure I'll be in Agra in time. My ticket was booked in advance by Anil as this can't be bought the same day. Ticket cost 750 Rupees. Instructions were for me to report to the Shilpgram half an hour before viewing time. No tripods, no bags, no food.

At the Shilpgram, airport-style security was in place. Even a security officer asked me to fire-off my flash unit to make sure my camera is a harmless functioning unit and not some bomb. We were escorted into a waiting bus - 50 foreign and Indian visitors - for the short ride to the main entrance. Another security check was done much to the bewilderment of everyone. But after what happened to the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, security is surely tighter than it already is.

Since 2005, the Indian government has allowed night time viewings during a full moon, including 2 days before and 2 days after. Batches of 50 visitors are allowed for 30 minutes from 8 PM to 10 PM and viewing is allowed only from the platform at the gateway. I don't really mind, I'll have a closer look of it tomorrow. Promptly at the strike of 9 PM, an alarm clock buzzed audibly for all to hear - a sign that we have to leave quickly. Another batch of 50 is waiting outside.

2 comments:

  1. Dens,
    pwerte gyud ka no, nag-India diay ka. Pagbantay ha!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Talking about security. I have a friend whos son is getting married this year in India, They are book to stay in the same hotel in Mumbai, but they are not allowed to drive their cars close to the hotel. They have to park it 2 miles away from the hotel and take the shuttle, even on the day of the wedding.

    ReplyDelete

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