Day 5: The road to Agra
Agra Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
After spending only 4 days in Delhi, we all had seen and experienced too many things to remember and we were all wondering what we would see in Agra, where we would stay for the weekend. I had already packed my bags after breakfast, so I went outside to find some food and water for our trip. I was still a bit sleepy, so I hadn't really prepared my mind for the heat and the beggars that would be waiting outside our hotel, but as soon as I stepped out of the door, they both brought me back to reality. Accompanied by a few women who were asking me for money I walked to a nearby shop and bought some water and three bags of chips, before I returned to the coolness of our hotel.
We would stop a few times during our trip and our first stop was the Gandhi memorial, which was in Delhi. When we got out we walked into a quiet garden and were heading in the wrong direction, but a friendly soldier with a big machine gun pointed us in the right direction for the memorial. We had to remove our shoes before we went inside the memorial, but there were carpets on the stones to protect your feet from burning them. Inside the memorial was a large garden with several quotes from Gandhi hanging around the walls. In the center there was a piece of black marble with a flame on top of it. Some people were praying at the memorial. I didn't know a lot about Gandhi at that time, so when we left I bought a book about his life and ideas to read on the way to Agra.
The Lotus temple was completed in 1986 and it is a house of worship for the Baha'i-religion, who believe that there is one God and that all religions are the same. Because of this belief they welcome people from every religion to pray to their God inside the temple. The temple itself is shaped like a lotus flower and it is situated on a small hill inside a garden. Before we were allowed inside a women from the Baha'i asked us to turn off our telephones and be silent inside the temple. Inside it was very quiet (this was not very surprising as everybody was asked to keep their mouth shut inside, but still it felt very different from outside) and everybody from our group took a seat to sit and think or pray.
Back in the bus, Dennis was the last person to enter, so he had to sing a song. Fortunately for us, he told a story instead. As we drove on and finally left Delhi, I began reading about Gandhi again. One of the things that he had written was that all religions were manifestations of the same God, but that all religions had imperfections in them, because they were communicated to us by imperfect humans.
After our visit to the fort I payed the guide and we drove on again. This time we stayed inside the bus for a long time. Most people were sleeping, but I didn't want to miss a thing of the country outside. The countryside between Delhi and Agra turned out to be quite similar to the countryside in some parts of Holland, although the grass looked more yellow than the green in our country. I was surprised to see a lot of trees outside and as we drove on, I saw people working on the fields and large chimneys in the distance that were probably used to make pottery or bricks. We passed a few towns along the way, where children were waving at our bus or people were trying to sell hats whenever we stopped. Somewhere along the way I suddenly saw a huge hindu statue in the middle of a field and I managed to take a picture of it before we passed it.
I don't remember the name of the town or the temple, but it was in the beginning of the evening when we left our bus and walked to the temple. The streets were dirtier than the streets I had seen in Delhi and there were a lot of cows and dogs walking on the streets. At the temple there were a lot of security guards and everybody was checked before we were allowed in. This was because the site was a holy place for both hindus, who believed it was the birthplace of Krishna, and muslims and there had been several terrorist attacks on the temple and the mosque, who were built right next to each other. I took of my shoes for the third time that day and walked around.
It was dark when we finally arrived in Agra after a long day on the road. While we were driving around Casper saw an elephant on the road and he told the rest. We also passed several processions on the streets with bright lights, loud music and people dancing between the lamps, which were held by people on their heads and who were connected with wires to a truck with a generator on it. Sanne told us that this was probably because the 'wedding season' had started and these processions were for people getting married.