While in Agra, India my wife and I walked around back of the Taj Mahal to see what we could find. We knew the Yamuna River was back there and had heard it was a pretty view as the sun dipped low in the sky, but our hotel had also suggested it was also a great place to see the Taj Mahal without paying the entry fee.
After walking along a road running parallel to the world’s most well-known symbol of love, we arrive at the riverbank. About an hour before sunset, there were a few security guards roaming about, a handful of local men and my wife and I. In the river was a small boat ferrying customers back-and-forth across the river. On the other side of the river was a large beach with a few kids playing, but for the most part, quite empty. Every-now-and-then someone would walk up and stand along the water’s edge. This was the signal for the boatman to come and pick him up.
Watching the boatman glide across the river a few times perked our interest. I can’t recall the exact price, but I’m pretty sure it was 200 Rupees (less than $4) for the two of us to hitch and ride back and forth. We picked up a passenger on the far side and the three of us quietly rode back enjoying the stillness of the water while watching the hordes of tourists inside the Taj Mahal. As the sun started to set, a few more tourists came over to our area, but by and large we had the place to ourselves.
It’s experiences like that which really make me appreciate travel. We really didn’t know where we were going, but we had heard it was a pretty view from behind the Taj Mahal. The boat ride across was a nice perk and a pleasurable experience, but overall, just seeing and experiencing is what makes me keep on traveling.