Impressive Taj Mahal

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Monday, November 7, 2011

I arrived in Agra somehow a day early (although I didn't realise it at the time).  I managed to get a train booked and thankfully the journey was pretty uneventful.  I couldn't see out any windows as I was on the top bunk in sleeper class which was the only ticket I could get.  Anyway I got checked in and went out a wander to find the Taj Cafe as recommended by the Lonely Planet, it was nice enough and I had my first banana lassi which was yum.  I wandered round to Joney's place which is the smallest restaurant I've seen, it was tiny with fabulous bright furniture and is a big hit with travelers, a real fun place.  


I still can't get over the cows everywhere stopping the traffic, or making vehicles swerve round about them.  There's even a calf feeding from it's mother right in the middle of the main road causing chaos.  Unbelievable, India really is a truly bazaar and fascinating place.  


I got up at 5am next morning to head to the Taj Mahal for sunrise although I freaked out when leaving my room as there are huge monkey's everywhere.  I have to dodge them on the way out and manage to get down and buy my ticket (750Rs) but there's a big queue at the West Gate, by the time I'd get in the sun would have risen, so instead I go back to bed for a few hours and come back later.  


The first sight of the Taj Mahal was stunning, really breathtaking, and the light surrounding it was amazing.  I can't believe that I was standing in front of the Taj Mahal... wow.  I took the compulsory pictures and had a wander through the Ornamental Gardens before going inside it, the decorative marble inlay work 'Pietra dura' is beautiful, it really is a highlight of my trip.  Both the Jawab and the Mosque on either side of the Taj Mahal (which were built for symmetry) are very detailed, also beautiful buildings, really lovely.  


I met a lovely girl from Dublin when I was leaving and we have become good friends, she has a very small rucksack with her only 35L, think I'm going to downsize after my trekking in Nepal.  Meanwhile I have packed up one bag and sent it home, it only cost around 7quid but the process was fab.  They weigh your stuff then wrap it in muslin and sew it up, then they apply hot wax on the stitching to ensure it is not tampered with, the have a real attention to detail.  While I was in Agra I also visited the Agra Fort and the Bazaars which were fascinating places!
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