On a busy weekday, what it will be like to get away from all the hustles of life and hitting open highways that can be seen till the horizon? That exact same question was wandering in our head when we decided to escape the mid-week blues by taking a quick exit from the routine life and taking the expressway to Agra.
Delhi-Agra has always been a busy sector for tourists. After completion of one of the major projects, the Yamuna Expressway appeared and it was nothing less than a blessing for tourists and people going that way of the country. The highway is a 6-lane concrete structure, that can be extended to 8-lanes. The highway is 165 km long and has shaved off the distance to Agra by a good 100 kms and saves time by at least two hours.
We started the journey early in the morning in a Tata Bolt. The route was simple and because it was a weekday, the traffic was not very thick. The Yamuna Expressway starts from Greater Noida and goes till Agra.
As soon as we hit the Expressway, a huge board welcomed us to the highway and the buzz of the tyre friction against the concrete stretches takes over every other sound. Zooming past all the billboards with cameras and seeing the distance decreasing with each passing minute, we stopped before the first toll in search of food. Even though there are food joints and washrooms after all the toll plazas, we stopped at the joint before the first toll and had a fulfilling lunch at the Subway.
After the quick bites, we got back into the track on our way to Agra. At the first toll plaza located at Jewar, we payed a return toll of Rs. 575, which has to be used within 24 hours.
Agra was still far away but the Bolt engine filled with the Shell Helix Ultra was returning perfect responses and had become really smooth. (mention economy) Going forward, we saw the distance coming down dramatically and we reached the second toll in almost no time. The distance to Agra was little over 100 km.
The Yamuna Expressway is not the most interesting expressway when it comes to the scenery and locations part, it is one straight road going on for miles and hence, we made no major stopovers.
We crossed the exits for Mathura and Vrindavan, one of the major destinations for tourists, and were moving towards the white marble wonder, one of the seven wonders of the world.
Soon after crossing the last toll on the way, the signs of Taj Mahal start to show up indicating that the distance is not a big figure now.
As soon as you exit the expressway, the usual chaos of city life starts, traffic all over the road and it becomes very difficult to be in that situation after the long open highway. The engine still felt smooth even during start-stop traffic. The slow moving traffic really started to irritate and the broken roads were not helping either.
We finally reached the parking of Taj Mahal, as a protected monument, no vehicle with internal combustion engine is allowed within one km radius of the monument.
Even though most of us have seen the Taj Mahal but seeing it in front of you definitely sparks some emotions. The Taj Mahal is nothing less than an idea of a genius. It stands tall and looks as beautiful as the thought behind the making of the Taj.
Legends say that the Taj Mahal was built by mughal emperor Shahjahan for one of his wives who he loved the most. It depicts the history and the love the man carried for his wife. Mumtaz Mahal was buried in the Taj and soon, Shahjahan was also laid beside the coffin of his wife keeping them together for eternity.
The river Yamuna flows right behind the Taj and when the water level was bit higher, it used to touch the boundary wall of the Taj enhancing the beauty of the monument even more.
The Taj Mahal is a beautiful place, but as the sun becomes stronger, the feet start to burn because of marble flooring. We started heading out to our shoes, and were planning the journey back home. While planning we stopped for some quick bite. The local cuisine of Agra was not very different from Delhi, a regular plate of rajma chawal refilled our draining energy reserves.
We started the journey back and even though the car was standing in extreme heat conditions, it started perfectly and gained its smoothness in almost no time. Before leaving Agra limits, we wanted to take the famous local sweet, petha. We stopped at a famous shop and picked up loads of delicacies.
A quick glance at the fuel gauge indicated that there is no need to make a pit stop at the fuel pumps and the car was returning a healthy fuel efficiency, mainly because of the open highways and the engine oil we were using in the car.
The journey back home started again with the sight of Yamuna Expressway and the sound of tyre friction because of the concrete road. The engine remained calm and quiet while the road-trip was heading back home after hitting the Yamuna Expressway.
The sun followed us all the way and so did the carefree drive in the Bolt because of the Shell Helix. It was office hour already when we exited the Yamuna Expressway and a sea of cars welcomed us amidst them. Even after a long drive at both high-speed and low, the engine felt nice and stress-free. The day finally ended with the sunset and every second of the drive were stored and locked in the best part of the memory.