Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Agra, India 7/4 -7/5

With an amusing ride through Delhi traffic we were on our way to Agra. Our friend, Sidharth, arranged a private driver to take us three hours south to Agra. After two days on our feet in the blazing humid heat we were more than happy to sit in an air conditioned car and watch the country side go by.

See a closer view of our interactive map.
We stayed wide awake as our driver raced around other cars and autos driving down both sides of the roads. We constantly heard horns blaring and occasionally saw camels pulling carts.

Morning traffic while leaving Delhi.
You can get a ride even if there are no available seats inside the bus.
There's plenty of room on top.
See a closer view of our interactive map.
Before checking into our hotel, we stopped at Agra Fort. In the scorching heat of the afternoon, we took an audio tour of the complex. The fort provided a clear view to the Taj Mahal for Sultan Shah Jahan to remember his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal for whom the Taj was built.

Perfume water once flowed in this desert fort's fountains.
Our first view of the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort.
Once we checked into our hotel we didn't want to leave. Not only was the air conditioning an amazing relief from Agra's heat but our hotel was very luxurious and our plan to see the baby Taj that afternoon flew out the window.

ITC Mughal Hotel lobby
The next morning we took a guided sunrise tour of the Taj arranged by our hotel. Security to enter the Taj was tighter than our airports after 9/11. Metal detectors and pat-downs prevented any food, lotion of any size, or stuffed animals from entering. This included our travel buddies, Mochi and Rug, who had to stay behind.

The closest the boys got to the Taj Mahal.
An electric powered auto arranged by our environmentally conscious hotel.
 Seeing the Taj up close was breath taking. We both agreed it is truly a world wonder.

Our guide knew the best spots to take photos.
Checked another world wonder off our bucket list.
We made it back to our hotel before the sun had a chance to turn us into a sweaty mess, had breakfast, and packed our backpack. Our hotel arranged our next private cab for us and we were on our way to our next stop - Jaipur, Rajasthan.

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