May 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Posted in India | Leave a comment

 Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal. during our super long train journey to agra we made friends with this random indian guy. our train broke down just outside of our station, but luckily this guy guided us over some tracks (and in front of a train that was “on”) and helped us find a tuktuk. nice guy – although he did then jump in our tuktuk with his wife and kid, but i think he earned the free ride. after yelling with our driver to get correct change, we starting searching for a room around 1am. being so late, we didn’t have much bargaining leverage and ended up in a $5 room. it seemed okay minus the midget sized bed, but then i woke up hudson when I saw a giant rat and screamed.
so, besides the rooms (we moved to one just slightly better) and the tourist-trap feeling, agra was okay. definitely wouldn’t be a place to visit except for the taj, which was amazing. you could get great views from little rooftop restaurants like the one below.

The Taj mahal was really cool but i wasn’t a fan of the city. The restaurants had awful food here. During one lunch we did have the pleasure of witnessing a real multi family feud. The local harlot had been sleeping with another woman’s husband so her kids took offence and challenged the harlot’s kid to a fight – pretty exciting stuff. The restaurant owner told us that this was pretty common and that she’d even tried it on with him. This was all quite surprising as the majority of Indian women were really reserved.

it took a minute to get this nice shot without anyone’s head blocking the shot.

i think the taj is all it’s hyped up to be. the main entrance gate is massive and dominating. the symmetry of the landscaping and archetecture is really impressive as well.

the white marble looks so smooth from afar, but when you walk up to it, you realize much of it has intricate carvings, especially considering it was built around 1632. The shah at the time built it as a sign of love for his wife who had died in 1631.

check out the carving on this huge wall. we took this from the veranda that encircling the entire building. unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the mauseleum. there is a main area and then several passageways with huge carved screens so the sun can shine in. there is also a beautiful wall around the inner mauseleum that is carved so thinly that the marble looks translucent.

we also went to the agra fort, which, like many Indian forts, looks like a giant sandcastle.

this fort was especially fun to walk around.

beautiful carvings.

this is an example of the carved screens – such a pretty pattern.

the fort had an inner wall and outer wall. in-between the walls is a thick forest filled with exotic birds and loads of monkeys; the curving walls are a huge playground for those naughty monkeys.

the fort had cool porches and beautiful gardens, as well as plenty of rooms for the Maharaga’s many wives.

hudson, contemplating the meaning of life.

there are great views of the taj from the fort’s windows.


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