The ultimate act of love

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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Thursday, June 2, 2011

We had to catch a night train from Varanasi to Agra and having not travelled by train in India I was a little sceptical. To be honest I just wanted to get out of Varanasi, it was far too manic for me.  We arrived at the train station about 6pm where hundreds of Indians had the same idea, it was crazy.  I queued for our tickets and in true Indian form they push or should I say 'tried' to push in front, each one was greeted with my elbow.  As we headed to the platform we realised the train was early so we leaped on only to find it was more of less empty, fantastic!  It started to fill up slowly every time we stopped so we just claimed our beds and tried to get as much sleep as we could.  The following morning we arrived, I didn’t sleep very well so we leaped in a tuk tuk and headed straight to our hotel.  The temperature in Agra was hotter then Varanasi so we hid in our room for the first day.  We caught a great view of the Taj Mahal from the rooftop of our hotel and decided to get up early the following day to catch sunrise over the Taj. We awoke at 5am and walked 5 minutes to the Taj Mahal.  Now this is something I have always wanted to see so I was extremely excited.

It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife after she died during childbirth (Fourteenth child).  He was so heartbroken rumours have it his hair turned grey overnight.  She died in 1631 and he started constructing it the same year, he built it from thousands of precious stones and the bill is thought to have run to 70 million US dollars.  It is a world heritage site and the minute I turned the corner through the main gate I could instantly see why, it is the most magnificent piece of architecture I have ever seen and the most beautiful.  As the sun came up and we walked around it the colour of the marble changed.  Arriving here before sunrise was a great move, there were hardly any tourists about so we had a great opportunity to take many picture.  By the time we were leaving they all started to flood in.  It was definately a dream come true for me to be there and as sad as the story is, there is one thing I nobody can deny - his wife died a very loved woman indeed.

The following day we moved into an air-con room before we melted and stayed put until we would head back to Delhi.  When I open the bedroom door in the morning it feels the same as when you open an oven door with a chicken in and the heat hits you in the face....Uhhh!  We visited Agra Fort which was great to see but only 25% of it was open to the public so we were in and out pretty quick, it really is a struggle to do anything when it is 48 degrees.  Everything is a battle and we have to plan how much water we take out with us as dehydration is defiantly on the cards.  We walked down the street to a cafe where we ate most days and although it is a five minute walk it can be really stressful. There is no left and right for traffic and when I say traffic it mostly consists of cows, goats, dogs, camels, bikes. Tuk tuk’s, and motorbikes coming at you for all angles tooting their horns, it was a daily challenge to do a simple think like walk down the street, on top of all the traffic people are shouting at you "tuk tuk sir" “you buy water” “Come in and eat” we just learned to switch off in the end.  If there not taking pictures of us they are shouting or pushing.....Home time!

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