I will state right off the bat that the Taj Mahal is as spectacular, breathtaking, stunning, awesome…..(you get the picture) as both pictures you see and people talk about. There is a kind of joyful melancholy about the place as absurd as that sounds.
Before that though we went to see the Red Fort which is absolutely massive and unfortunately we didn’t get a guide so mostly incomprehensible – lesson learned.
The drive out to Agra was quite distressing – I didn’t react especially to the poverty and dirt in Delhi – I suppose I rather expected it, but driving through this endless expanse of urban sprawl with piles of garbage everywhere and endless streams of people really got to me. The sheer chaos is mind boggling!
It is much better now as perhaps I’m acclimating but also Rajasthan doesn’t seem to be quite as bad and we spent most of yesterday driving though real farm country – lots of green, small villages, animals of all sorts – we see carts pulled by horses, donkeys, mules, bullocks, camels & last but not least people; there are goats and feral pigs and dogs everywhere. Huge herds of water buffalo and women whose job is to form the cow pats into dried patties to be sold for fuel which they stack in rather imaginative columns.
I have to dash – the dining room just opened for breakfast – staying in a raja’s palace and was awoken this morning but the 6 am call of the faithful from the minaret next door – very lovely, exotic and timely. Today we are off on elephant back to climb upto the Amber fort – MUCH more later