Taj, Taj, Taj
Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
34Trip End Jul 08, 2012
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Today is the first proper day of the tour and we got up at 4.30am to make our train to Agra. The taxi drivers didn't arrive on time to pick us up so we had to rush to load our luggage into the cars. As I loaded my bag the car started to roll forward. Thankfully one of the drivers heard me shouting and dashed to put the handbrake on! No harm done!! My bag is far too heavy. I need to ditch some stuff! As we had so much luggage, Ruby had to sit with a backpack in the foot well in the front of the car. Thankfully it was only a short drive, though the traffic was manic getting into the station.
The train journey went without any problems and we had breakfast onboard while watching the sunrise. I was tired as I didn't manage to sleep until 3 am but was still excited to see the Taj Mahal!!!
We went to Agra Fort after checking into the hotel. There were monkeys at the entrance which I wasn't keen on standing too close to. Our guide for the Fort was really enthusiastic. The best part of the tour was the view of the Taj in the distance.
We went for lunch at a rooftop restautant called Mia's. I had sweet and sour chicken which was quite odd but still edible. They served us the Agra delicacy of Peta after lunch- pumpkin pulp covered in sugar. Far too sweet, but good to try. It was a bit like a massive glace cherry but more solid.
In the afternoon we took the bus to the West gate entrance of the Taj Mahal and we got a snazzy pair of shoe covers for when we go inside. We were classed as "High value" ticket holders. There is a queue as far as the eye can see for male Indian visitors to enter since they are not able to pay the 750INR which tourists class as small change (750INR is just over 10GBP- there is no pound sign on this keyboard!).
Seeing the Taj was a really surreal experience. It is a place that I have always seen in pictures and I never thought I would see for real. I took some panoramic pictures on my camera. I am really pleased with the quality of the shots and glad that I splashed out on a new camera as my point and shoot is being temperamental
Walking around the Taj we got stopped multiple times by Indian people asking for photos with us. I don't really understand why, but they seemed genuinely excited to use up their film on us, so we went along with it.
It was a really long day. Some of the group headed out to Pizza Hut when we finally made it back to the hotel but I opted to go to a restaurant serving South Indian food. I had capsicum uttampam which is almost like an Indian pizza topped with peppers. Thankfully it was a lot less greasy that the Noth Indian foods that we have been eating up to now. After dinner I had my third cold shower of the week and zonked out as soon as my head hit the pillow. A tiring but memorable day!
It is on to Jaipur tomorrow by bus- a lovely 6 hour ride on what I am told is "good highway". Some of our group are not feeling well so hopefully the journey won't be too awful for them.