Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agra, the Taj Mahal & a dead camera

So we get to Agra mid-afternoon maybe...

Check into the Holiday Inn - margarita time! Of course you're not meant to drink the water in India so this present a bit of a problem... No idea if the ice is made from tap water or filtered water. We survived so I assume it was filtered water.

I currently can't remember how long we were in Agra for - it may only have been the two nights... Agra is an amazing place. I was really blown away by it.

Ok onto the adventures. There's basically three things that you have see in Agra. The Red Fort, the Taj Mahal and the fort where Shah Jahan was imprisoned. We saw the Red Fort first. You have to take your shoes off! Seriously... this kind of freaked me out. I was also worried the whole time we were wandering around the Red Fort that our shoes were being held hostage (this ended up being technically true - we had to pay a RS10 minding fee). We were given a tour by a guy that basically latched onto us. Two tall white people tend to stick out. He kept telling us it was his sacred duty as a Muslim to take us through the Red Fort. So we have one of the insanest rides in an auto-rickshaw yet. Get taken through the Red Fort. I wasn't particularly impressed as I felt we were being swindled. Which we were. And that sucks!

So next we move onto the Taj Mahal and get the tour. I was completely and absolutely blown away by the Taj Mahal. I can not describe how beautiful it is except to say it is incredibly beautiful and none of the pictures do it any justice. They really don't. One piece of bad news is my 300D decided to die just as we were about to enter into the Taj Mahal *mutter mutter grumble grumble* so all my Taj Mahal photos and photos from that point were taken on my iPhone.

I think part of what makes the Taj so special too is that it's quiet. All of India is so loud and busy and in your face. And the Taj is honestly this little oasis of calm.

The Fort where Shah Jahan was imprisoned was almost as amazing as the Taj. The amount of workmanship and detail that went into these places is just staggering and so very beautiful.

The bit that really cracked me up about the tour guides is that you have to see everybody's boss. So... we ended up having to see some carpets and some marble. Because that's where his boss works or the brother of his boss or the great-uncle of his second cousin etc... it was funny, the driver had actually come in and tell the tourguide off as we were looking to be running late for our train to Varanasi.

I am so glad we took the time out to see the Taj Mahal. I was actually very humbled by it. It's beauty is honestly inspiring and breath-taking.