Today was an incredibly early start. To get into the Taj Mahal before the masses you need to be at gate shortly after 06:30, so we were up with (before) the lark at 05:20!
After a quick rickety auto-rickshaw journey through the dark streets of Agra, we joined the ticket queue and gained prompt entry to the Taj Mahal grounds. The early start was well worth it for the picture below.
No matter how many pictures you see before you go and no matter how much hype you hear, nothing can rival seeing the Taj up close. There is an incredible amount of extremely intricate gemstone work covering the beautifully smooth marble and the grandeur of the whole site is awe-inspiring.
On our way to Jaipur
The drive takes roughly 3.5 hours, whilst the train takes 4 to 5.5 hours- this is one of the benefits of hiring a driver to take you from place to place whilst travelling around India (the other being able to have rest stops whenever you fancy).
Before we reached Jaipur, we went to Galtaji (Monkey Temple) to see some playful Macaque and Langur monkeys – they did not disappoint.
We quickly dropped off our bags at the hotel – a friend mentioned to me the other day that we haven’t been showing you pictures of the accommodation we’ve been staying in, that being one of the things he would be most concerned about when travelling for a long time. Whilst it isn’t perhaps the level of décor one might expect in one’s own home, it is very clean and comfortable!
We opted for the audio tour of the City Palace complex; the audio tour was only 100 INR so we thought it was worth trying out. I feel that we will be doing more of them as opportunities arise, as not only are they very informative, the information you receive should be credible. I’m not convinced by lots of the ‘official’ tour guides with their IDs which often look homemade and laminated.
We finished off the day with a visit to the tailors (one of Jaipur’s specialities) where you can buy two tailor-made linen shirts for under £50 with a turnaround of mere hours. I’m sure you’ll get a glimpse of me wearing mine in the coming days after we collect them in the morning!