We stayed in Agra for one night at Hotel Amar Yatri Niwas. The rooms were quite small, but clean and had a comfortable bed.
Perks of the hotel: Costa Coffee was located just outside!
After a terrible nights sleep in Delhi, I was on the 6am train out of there and on my way to Agra. After a 3 hour train journey, we were collected from the train station and taken to our hotel. We were there too early to check-in to our rooms, but were able to freshen up in the hotel toilets and leave our luggage there whilst we went off to explore Agra.
We visited Agra Fort, which was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was moved from Agra to Delhi. The entrance fee was included as part of our G-Adventures tour.
We had a tour guide who showed us around the fort which was very interesting. I had my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal in the distance across the Yamuna river.
After spending a couple of hours looking around, we went to a local restaurant for lunch where we got to try Thali. Thali is round platter with small bowls containing different vegetables, curries and curd (yoghurt). In the middle of the platter is the rice. JD showed us the traditional way of eating it too.
We then made our way back to the hotel so we could check-in to our rooms, and I had a little nap before we were meeting for our next activity – the Taj Mahal!
The Taj Mahal was beautiful. I actually felt star-struck and I couldn’t believe that I was at the iconic Taj Mahal. The entrance fee inside was also included as part of our tour.
It’s no wonder that the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World; this perfect symmetrical UNESCO world heritage site was built as a symbol of love from Emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife, Begum Mumtaz Mahal. Construction started in 1632 AD and was completed in 1648 AD. The mosque and guesthouse were added in 1653 AD.
The Taj Mahal was very busy, and it seemed that yet again we were more of the local tourist attraction than the Taj! I was just relieved that I was in a group so I didn’t feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb quite so much. Our tour guide, JD, had warned us to say no to anybody asking for photos as it would open the flood gates to everyone asking for photos. Despite this, people were still coming up to us and taking selfies without our permission.
We stayed at the Taj until sunset and then left to have dinner at another local restaurant. This time I tried a coconut paneer dish, of course accompanied by a garlic naan!
After our early start and long day, we all headed off to bed before another early start for our journey to Jaipur.
Next up: Jaipur
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