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Taj Mahal

sunny 32 °C

We left Jaipur early this morning to head for Agra. In my backpack I had carefully placed a bar of Ritter's chocolate, as a sign of victory over the Taj hotel chain. When we had checked into the hotel, we had been very excited that they had Ritter's chocolate and Bill and I finished the bar rather quickly. The following day, when the man came to check the mini bar, I told him we needed some more chocolate, to which he just shrugged and said, they didn't have any. I sent him off on a mission to find chocolate, after assuring him we really really needed it. Several hours later he returned to say there was no chocolate, he even rang his boss up, so he could assure me there was no chocolate. It was at this stage that I had chocolate melt down (this was a five star hotel, a previous hotel had gone out and found me decaf coffee, so they would find me chocolate) and told them that the hotel was hardly full and I expected them to search every empty room, until they returned with chocolate; ten minutes later the chocolate was delivered. It is still in my bag, nearly twenty four hours later.

The journey to Agra took about four hours and was quite uneventful, although I did have a little cry, when I realised that very soon, I will not be able to see camels everyday. Agra is the city (in the state of Uttaranchal Pradesh) where the Taj Mahal is, and this is the only reason for coming here as it is not a pretty city. Our hotel upgraded us and our room does give us a view of the top of the Taj Mahal. I was determined to see the Taj Mahal when I knew we were coming to India and Bill really didn't want to come and we even fell out about it (what a surprise), but I said it was a done deal for me, we were going to see the Taj Mahal.

The hotel was in walking distance of the Taj Mahal and as we walked along the road we we really been hassled by people wanting to give us a lift, be our guide, sell us water, come to their restaurant or their shop. They were very insistent and ignoring them (our usual ploy) really didn't work, Bill was even penned into a wall, by a man with a horse and trap. It didn't help that it was hot (where is the rain when we need it) and there was no shade. The security measures to get in where understandably strict; our bags were checked by hand. This lady was good, she found cough sweets in my bag I didn't know where there, she took my Hall's cough sweets off me, but did allow me my cough medicine. Looking in the bag, she found the bar of Ritter's chocolate and removed it (putting it in a pile with my Halls). She then brought out a statue of Ganesh (without mouse), that Bill had bought earlier and said this wasn't allowed inside. She did point us in the direction of some lockers and Bill had to go back outside and face the gauntlet of people volunteering to 'help' us.

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum, built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child! The Taj Mahal, did not disappoint me in any way, it is truely beautiful and Bill acknowledged that it was well worth the visit. Inside the mausoleum were just the grave of Mumtaz and next to her, Shah Jahan (although the real graves where in the basement). I did want the 'Princess Diana picture', sat on the bench in front of the Taj looking melancholy, but the bench was surrounded by people and I was having a happy time. The colours of the saris worn by the visitors were beautiful, as everybody was in their Sunday best and we sat for sometime, people watching. I asked Bill if he would build anything like that as a memorial to me and he said he would rest my coffin precariously on top of a tall building!

Tomorrow morning, we head for our final destination, Delhi. Hopefully we will find a tailor to make up some clothes for us and we will have a chance to stroll around the bazaars.

Posted by mulliganward 04:23 Archived in India

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Well worth the hassle then ?

by j.ward

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