Agra (Day 3)

Monday, 14/08/2006, Agra

Today, we went to Agra, where the world-famous Taj Mahal is located. We had bokked a driver, who was recommended to us and who also had organized a guide for us. The trip to Agra from Delhi took about 3.5 hours, but since we left early, we could avoid Delhi’s rush hour.

The first visit was the Taj. As foreign visitors, we got a free 500 ml bottle of water (very useful, it was very hot, about 35 C with high humidity) and shoe covers, so we did not have to take or shoes off :).

The Taj is very, very impressive. The surroundings are beautifully laid out, and thanks to the close proximity of the river they are wonderfully green. The Taj itself is flanked by a mosque (still in use) and a guesthouse (now empty, and the interiour taken by the British).

Then our guide took us to three („government-approved“) shops, a carpet maker (where we were demonstrated the making of a carpet), a jewellery shop, and a marble shop. We did not buy anything, probably much to the regret of our guide, who, I suppose, would have gotten a commision.
After that, we went to the Red Fort, but visited it only from the outside, because most of it is still used by the Indian army, and the accessible parts are empty.

On our way back, we stopped at Agra’s (Agua’s? Akua’s?) Tomb, which is very nice and houses (allegedly) 200 monkeys and 200 deer. Then we went back to Delhi.

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