From Jaipur we headed for Agra and the famous Taj Mahal, the road was the usual crazy Indian driving and none to good a road considering the that the map showed it as a major red road, though we have since found out that some of the worst roads in India are the major ones, (surface so bad that you can't maintain more than 20 m.p.h.), anyway having got to the main car park entrance for the Taj Mahal we were approached by a fella on a scooter who asked did we need a hotel, after he said that he had good safe parking for the bikes we agreed to follow him to the hotel, as it was located only 50 mts from the west gate entrance to the Taj and it had good parking plus constant hot water we were happy to stay there, having unloaded our gear into the room we headed for the roof top and had a coke whilst enjoying the view.
The view from the roof top of our hotel
From the roof top of our hotel the Taj Mahal looks impressive if a little smaller than we had expected. Up here on the roof top we had our closest encounter with a monkey, this one let Jenny know that it did not like us being up here on the roof top, they are generally not friendly and are vicious if you get to close, Jenny thought that it would be nice to talk to the monkey but the monkey had other ideas, a close encounter and a luck escape, no injures sustained but it provided us with a timely warning. The next day we went into see the Taj Mahal at close quarters and it proved to be far more impressive from close up and did not seem small at all.
The Taj Mahal pictured from just inside the main entrance
Despite the dire warnings about the price of going into see the Taj we did not think the price was to excessive, it cost 750 rupees which is about £10, we had been told that it was about £25 and not worth visiting, the price that you pay includes the cost of a guide, though you are expected to tip them, we were quite pleased with this as he provided a lot of information and also tended to move the Indians out of our way so we could get the best views and photographs, though one Indian woman did get very annoyed with him and followed us for a short while, constantly harangue the guide and generally making life difficult for a while. The inside of the Taj Mahal was surprisingly noisy as it acts like a speaker and was full of people all of whom were talking, the balance of the place is spoilt only by the Maharajahs tomb which was never supposed to be there.
The gardens around the Taj are rather impressive and were suprisingly quite
Having had our tour of the Taj, we parted from our guide and spent about two hours just relaxing in the gardens and looking around the place at the points where we felt he had been a bit to quick, and also to take some more pictures though this did prove more difficult as the guide told the Indians to move out of our way, this we could not do as we don't speak Hindi !!!.
The classic tourist photo !! Cliff looks like Billy Bunter chewing on a Lemon !!
OK so that is Agra, well the Taj Mahal, the rest of Agra being a fairly average Indian city, yes it has got a Red Fort and an old city and lots of little shops, which the owners and brokers are constantly trying to get you into, the usual tourist walking money belt syndrome that gets on your nerves in about 30 seconds. Time to move on to a place called orchha.
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