The Taj is a hit with foreign athletesOctober 17th, 2010 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS
Agra, Oct 17 (IANS) “This is incredible! I can’t express my feelings! I have seen and read all this in books but being here and seeing it, it is fantastic!” This is how Kenyan men’s marathon gold medallist John Ekiru Kelai reacted on seeing the Taj Mahal.
Kelai was not the only Commonwealth Games athlete to be mesmerized by the imposing 17th century marble monument to love.
Out of the 350 or so foreign athletes and officials who travelled on the last of the nine special train journeys to Agra, the Kenyan was perhaps the most euphoric.
Kelai said the day-long trip to Agra was the best experience he had in India after the Oct 3-14 Games. And he was more than willing to appreciate the hospitality of the Indian authorities.
“The trip was great, the food was also very nice. I saw a lot of goodwill and hospitality of the Indian people,” the athlete told IANS.
Athletes from Malaysia, Britain and Gambia — among the many countries represented on the train — thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the Taj, India’s biggest tourist draw.
After visiting the Taj, the cavalcade proceeded towards more sightseeing and entertainment before returning to the railway station under heavy security to return to New Delhi.
People lining up the roads waved to the visitors.
The Indian Railways’ Taj Commonwealth Games Express made its ninth and last journey Saturday.
The service, started Oct 6, carried around 3,500 athletes and officials from New Delhi’s Safdurjung railway station on the 198-km journey to Agra Cantonment station in about three hours.
The coaches were decorated with 231 photo exhibits depicting Indian culture and more. Attendants in traditional Indian suits and turban served the passengers.
According to officials, the train trips organised by the railways and the Uttar Pradesh government were a huge success. “There were many compliments and no complaint,” said one official.
- Taj city decked up for warm welcome to CWG guests - Oct 04, 2010
- Kenyans dominate CWG marathon - Oct 14, 2010
- CWG tourists soak in beauty of the Taj - Oct 11, 2010
- Luxury train trips and more for Indian Games winners - Nov 11, 2010
- Luxury train trips for Indian CWG medal winners - Oct 05, 2010
- No free entry to Taj for CWG visitors - Oct 03, 2010
- Wah Taj, say foreign journalists (Games Sidelights) - Oct 12, 2010
- A fresh campaign to clean up Agra mounted - Oct 06, 2010
- Travel Corporation starts luxury train journeys in India - Sep 14, 2011
- Railways to run CWG exhibition train - Jun 14, 2010
- Taj city fogged out, commuters hit - Jan 05, 2012
- Delhi Tourism sets up kiosks at two Airport Metro stations - Mar 15, 2012
- Commonwealth Express arrives in Bangalore - Sep 02, 2010
- Special train to promote CWG flagged off - Jun 24, 2010
- Special train to promote Commonwealth Games - Jun 23, 2010
Tags: cantonment, cavalcade, commonwealth games, gold medallist, heavy security, indian authorities, indian culture, indian railways, indian suits, kenyan men, last journey, long trip, marble monument, photo exhibits, railway station, taj india, train journeys, train trips, turban, uttar pradesh government