After our adventures in Kerala, we made a quick stop in Delhi. We were happy to crash at Rignam’s, meet the famous Ronnie, and meet up with our friend Taylor. Meeting up with friends abroad is surreal and really exciting!
In our short time in Delhi we picked Ronnie’s brain to create a rough sketch of the rest of our time in India, and booked ourselves a train to Agra and a bus to Jaipur. As Rignam had to go back to work, the girls (Beth, Julie, and I) headed to the Dilli Haat market to get some henna and do a little shopping.
We even got some mo’ momos for lunch! Taylor came and met us there, and our next adventure had begun!
We went to Agra by train that night, and stayed at the Hotel Sheela, located a stone’s throw from the East Gate of the Taj, and costing us a scant 600 Rupees for one room (that’s about 10 dollars Canadian). This is a great spot to stay if you are hitting up Agra for a quick visit to the Taj and the Agra Fort. The garden had some really beautiful flowers, which really added to my collection of India flower pictures. (My pictures have taken on a theme beyond the typical sights: flowers, doors, and fancy fences).
We got up early the next day and headed to the Taj Mahal after a quick breakfast at the hotel. Another recommendation: go to the Taj early. While we didn’t make it for sunrise, we were there by 8am and the early morning mist was still burning off, creating a pretty surreal effect.
We stayed until about 11, and observed the changes in the view as the sun burned brighter and brighter. Also, by the time we were leaving the crowds inside had multiplied, making it more challenging to get nice pictures and properly enjoy the view. We wore our fancy outfits (purchased at Jayalakshmi in Cochin) to get some pretty nice photos (we also got a bit silly… clearly we were having a great time)!
While it’s a typical tourist destination, the Taj Mahal is definitely a must-see in India, and exceeded my expectations. It is one of the most typical images of India, but the photos don’t do it justice. I had no idea how intricate and textured the actual building was; it’s a photographer’s dream! It’s impossible to take a bad picture of the Taj. If you point and click, you’re pretty much guaranteed a beauty. I had a great time snapping pictures from every possible angle.
One of the funniest snaps of the day was taken by Beth. I had observed other people staging some typical tourist shots (a la Leaning Tower of Pisa) where they were holding the peak of the Taj. I stepped right up, struck a pose, and asked, “Does it look like I’m holding it??” Hilarity ensued…