Cars 5 Hotels 2 Flights 1:Flying time 8.5 hours Rickshaws 4
I left the hotel after breakfast for a four hour drive to Agra. Once we were out of the noise and hustle of the city the scenery changed to wheat fields, miles and miles of little fields with bell shaped haystacks of harvested wheat dotting the land. The only splash of colour on these endless golden fields is provided by bright multi-coloured sari clad women.
I arrived in Agra around noon. It’s a fairly small place, the main road is probably the equivalent of B roads in the UK, lorries, pigs, bikes, cars, cycles, camels, buffalo, people, cows and monkeys all inhabit the same space, both on the road and the dusty rubbish filled road side that one could loosely call a pavement. Although these animals are eating from the rubbish, they are fed by the local people every day.
My room and the very helpful staff are the best thing about the hotel, there is no where to sit apart from a gloomy looking bar and the food is not good.
After lunch I visited Agra Fort, great views over Agra, and then on to the Taj Mahal. To get to the main gate I had the delight of another rickshaw ride, this one was electric and as it is not on the main road not quite as scary as the ride in Delhi. There are hawkers every where here selling everything from books on the Taj to snow globes! not sure who thought that was a good idea, they are not allowed inside the ticketed area so are only a brief annoyance.
I have to say despite seeing numerous photos and television programmes about the Taj Mahal nothing prepared me for just how mesmerizingly beautiful the building is. The sun was setting when I was there so it was a good time to visit, and although there were hundreds of people, it didn’t take anything away from the experience. I sat on the infamous bench where iconic photos are taken, but there are four marble seats, not one. Rather rudely the towers were being cleaned so they had scaffolding up them, still didn’t detract from the experience although it’s not a good photographic look.