AsiaIndiaAgra

the onslaught of India; the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

Agra Travel Blog

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Humayun's tomb

I should preface this by saying that I do not like Delhi or Agra at all. I've found them to be the dirtiest, nastiest, most in-my-face cities that I've ever been to. Why?

There's been virtually no let up from the moment I set foot on terra firma in Delhi.  At the airport, I decided to spring for a "pre-paid" taxi so as to avoid the onslaught of taxi drivers outside the airport. But then: the taxi driver pretends he's lost. He stops at a "travel agency". The travel agency calls my hotel and then hands me the phone. Someone, supposedly from my hotel,  tells me it's booked full today.

Agra Fort.
The "travel agent" says he has a room for 60 bucks that I can have for the night since my hotel is full. I tell the taxi driver I want to go to MY HOTEL. Reluctantly, he takes me, but not all the way. I guess he didn't want to be seen when I entered the hotel and got my "all booked up" room.

I couldn't step out onto the street without being absolutely and relentlessly harassed. I had to try and ward off these people while trying to dodge all the cars and rickshaws and cows, all the while making sure I didn't step in someone's or something's crap. Yeah, there are cows...everywhere. And not 4-5, think 30-40 on a street. Absolutely retched. To be perfectly culturally insensitive: some "god", huh?

At my wit's end, I wondered how in the world I was going to stay here for 2 weeks, and was already deciding to find some flight tickets back to Kathmandu.

The Taj from Agra Fort.
But I really wanted to see the Taj. 

In the end, I totally wussed out and paid out the nose for a private driver to haul me around Northern India for 6 days, taking in most of the sights I wanted to see. It's not the perfect scenario, and the driver keeps taking me to his "friend's shops" despite my incessants Nos (and each time he does, his "tip" drops), but I'm seeing what I want to see. Now, how to fill the next week up...

For some good news: Today was the crowning moment of this whole India affair. At 6 am I headed to the glorious Taj Mahal. Yesterday I hit up the Agra Fort and found that to be quite stunning in itself. From there I was able to look across the river at the Taj and my first feelings of awe began to arise.

I was really looking forward to seeing the Taj at sunrise this morning and I was not disappointed.

What an absolutely breathtaking piece of work. I cannot begin to fathom how so much beauty can be manifested in stone. It's beautiful from 5k away and it only serves to become more beautiful the closer you get to it. Up close, I could see the marvelous carvings and stone inlays that adorned the walls and took that last little breath from my lungs. Words and pictures can't really do it justice.

Was it worth the rest of the onslaught I'm dealing with here in India? Still too early to tell. I have to say that I'm pretty happy right now, though, and hope this feeling carries me through the rest of my time here.

I'm in Jaipur, in Rajasthan now. We're a bit closer to the desert now and I counted 6 camels on my street in ten minutes. They're much better than the cows as they're not allowed to roam wherever they please. Anyway, tomorrow I'll hit up the Amber Fort and spend another night here before heading to Pokshar or something like that. Have to see how it goes. Until then....
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Humayuns tomb
Humayun's tomb
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
The Taj from Agra Fort.
The Taj from Agra Fort.
Humayuns tomb grounds
Humayun's tomb grounds
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
Agra Fort.
My first up close glimpse of the T…
My first up close glimpse of the …
One of the two mosques flanking th…
One of the two mosques flanking t…
Faktepur Sikri.
Faktepur Sikri.
Agra
photo by: rotorhead85