Think I have written about Jaipur, did not mention that it is much greener than anywhere we have been. Water table in most of Rajastan has gone from 50 feet to over 200 feet, obviously better near Jaipur.
Entrance into Agra similar to Jaipur, lovely motorway, tolled, then suddenly it peters out and becomes a tiny road where you battle cows, scooters, cars and buses all competing with the locals who believe they shoud be able to sell their goods right up to the road and preferably on it – chaos…
Hotel, again quite good, usual phychology, give ’em better ones near the end and they will forget the crap – not this elephant…
We ate dinner in the hotels revolving restaurant, should be renamed the lurching restaurant, as it lurched around. Somewhere out in the murk was the Taj.
We decided to walk after dinner and were quickly snaffed up by a tuk tuk driver, ended up in the usual jewellery shop, some yummy things but 1000 dollar ruby earrings are not quite gardening wear or Bougainville either.
Our driver would have had a fit if he had known we were out, apparently some tourists went missing not long ago, last seen in a tuktuk, however nobody wants two wrinkled old things like us so we are pretty safe!! The old adage that all Indian men want from foreigner is a purse and a pulse definitely cuts out when white hair is part of the picture!!!!
The driver was a bit puzzled the next day when we recognised a few landmarks- said it was from 25 years ago.
The Taj, what can you say, someone wrote ‘it is tear drop on the face of humanity’ think it was the Indian poet laureate. I would not go that far but it is stunningly beautiful. Very special for Terry as his father went there in the 1920’s.
We also visited the Red Fort where Shah jehan who built the Taj for Mumtaz , his wife, was imprisoned for a few years by his son- as you do!!!! Much more dynamic than the Taj, guess it is more a memorial to lives past than a memorial to commermorate a life.
Next day we went to what is known as the ‘mini taj’. Built for Mumtaz’s Persian grandfather. Built about 150 years before the Taj it is much smaller but has many of the same components, lovely caved marble screens, inlays , frescoes in the Italian manner plus well laid out gardens.
Not many tourists as very hard to get to through incredibly dense travel. Not a problem to our motorised thimble. I must say that pain that it was on the open road, with poor springing and little space it was great in the towns. But for over 2000k’s I would have used a tuk tuk in towns and abigger car!!!!
Thinking back over the trip through Rajastan, Jaiselmer was definitely our favourite and gave us one of our funniest moments, watching tourists who had paid to go out in the desert to watch the sunset!!!! Bikaner was one of our worst stays, but had a great fort .
Ngawalgarth east of Mandawa at the beginning of the trip had a great museum which had a costume section showing all the regional differences in turbans and saris, and yes, they did change from region to region. Each town had a turban tyle and a predominat sari colour. Saris, ranged from dark red to fluorescent yellow- down south they are much more subdued.
Food was spicy and always eatable and our bowels remained contantly jittery!
So our Rajastan trip ended with us being dropped off at Agra Gantt station which is whole new story!!!!!