When time is short, I try to fit in as much as possible. India was no exception. After the 3 hour flight to Mumbai and an all day adventure, I took a 2 hour flight in the wee hours of the morning to New Delhi on my journey to see my 3rd of 7 wonders of the world – The Taj Mahal in Agra India. Not only did I take a 2 hour flight, I then rode for 4 hours to Agra but it was all worth it.
A tour was arranged with Viator and they picked me up from the airport. It was an air conditioned vehicle but it wasn’t very comfortable in the back seat. I rode in the passenger seat which really saved my back. It was a long peaceful ride, minus the crazy drivers and driving. I was met by the tour guide once I arrive to Agra and we headed to the Taj Mahal. I was astounded by the length of the lines for natives to get into the site. The wait must have been longer than an hour. Foreign tourist have no wait. The guide says it’s because we pay 30 times more to get in…which actually isn’t that much when you convert it.
Prior to arrival, I witnessed a group of men carrying a dead man to the crematory. They marched quite a ways to take care of their loved one. All this while chanting to the gods. It was sad to see yet, that group of men were a cohesive group. It was sobering once I realized what I was witnessing.
When I arrived to the Taj Mahal entrance, I was met by one of those many photographers that ask to take your picture. I normally say no but the tour guide endorsed it. It was one of the best things I could have done. I didn’t have to worry about getting the perfect shot because he was on top of things. He even took a couple of photos with my camera which I was thankful for. At the end of the tour, the photos were printed (30) and a CD given all for $30. It was money well spent.
The Taj Mahal has such a rich history. It’s imperative that one go with an experienced tour guide. You’ll miss out if you don’t. My first glimpse was breathtaking. I had a similar feeling when I say the Treasury at Petra peek through the giant boulders. I’m starting to understand why these things are called wonders of the world.
Everything at the Taj Mahal is symmetrical. It’s an interesting story how things came about and how long it took to complete it.
From the Taj Mahal, I had lunch at a local place called Priya Restaurant. It’s certainly the place they take tourists. Luckily I wanted to eat a little early because 2 tour busses pulled up as I left. The food was pretty good. One thing though is that when you ask for no spice, they bring you little spice. And their interpretation of little spice isn’t little at all. I had heartburn after the first bite! If you’re a wine drinker, don’t order the wine unless it’s a new bottle.
Agra Fort is another site I visited. Great history also and I love the gardens. I visited the Baby Taj Mahal since we had a little time to kill. From there, I headed back to New Delhi on a four hour car ride. I flew back to Mumbai and arrived at midnight. What a long and incredible day!
Living life…and it’s good.