From Kolkata, we flew to Delhi and then drove to Agra to see the India’s most famous attraction – The Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his 3rd and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Made from glistening white marble, with semi precious stones inserted to form decorative panels throughout, the Taj Mahal definitely lives up to expectations.

Agra is the town that houses the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Shah Jahan’s son overthrew him, it is said due to his taste for beautiful things and spending money building intricate structures. Shah Jahan was imprisoned for years and could only admire the Taj Mahal from a window in the fort. These, along with Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted royal city 50 kilometres outside of Agra are all this town has to offer. Stunning as these are, Agra itself if a bit of a sesspit, with rubbish strewn everywhere. There are many hotels, but our experience was fairly negative. We first tried the Hotel Amar, who effectively wasted our time saying they had a room available, it was off the street and had a double bed, all of which was lies. We then tried the park plaza, who were also full, but arranged a room at the Jaypee Palace, a beautiful 5 star hotel kilometres outside of Agra’s dirty centre with 1 star service! The hotel itself and rooms are stunning, but the staff useless. It seems Jaypee’s idea of service is hiring a load of good looking, smartly dressed people to stand around all over the hotel saying hello and Namaste to guests, try to do anything like extend your stay, pay your bill or get advice and you’ll be struggling and frustrated as well as feeling ripped off!

We left Agra by train, travelling 3rd AC class, squeezing into our upper bunks in the carriage. Not as bad as you’d think though. We arrived in Jaipur on time to face the craziness of another Indian city!





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