Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Taj Mahal

Ok, so now we've seen everything in India. Apparently you don't need to see anything other than the Taj.
After picking up Alysha, all 6 of us took an overnight trip to Agra to go see the Taj. Guess what, it looks exactly like all the pictures. It receives so much praise but with all the headache of getting to it, paying for it and fighting the crowds for the picture I'm inclined to say there are nicer spots in India. Oddly enough, the further away from it you are the nicer it is. The inside smells like dirty feet (sorry but it's true) and the outside has plenty of stains and cracks but if you are on the other side of the garden looking up at it then it is truly amazing. It's almost like looking at a mirage because it just looks so much bigger than it is and it sticks up from it's own pedastal with only a blue sky behind. I don't know, but it's a weird effect. We all preferred to stay back and look from a distance.
The following day we snuck into Agra fort. Don't ask me how we managed that. It's the most important fort in the country and a huge tourist site (and therefore way overpriced). We were enjoying the outside (always the best part of forts anyway), and had decided not to go inside, but wanted to walk into the gate as far as we could just to peek inside. Well, nobody stopped us so we went all the way in, then back out when we were done. Oops to them, I guess they thought we were part of one of the organized tour groups. Ha ha.
Back to Delhi for a day. We said goodbye to Sandra and caught the next train south west to Bikaner. It's well into the desert near the border with Pakistan. They have a great fort here and tons of carts being pulled by camels instead of the usual ox or horse. Looks great. Tomorrow we head a little further southwest to Jaisalmer where we intend to do a camel safari for a few days out in the desert and sand dunes.


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