** Sorry guys, cant load any pics here for some reason, but click here to see latest photos i uploaded on dialup speed... running out of room on Flickr!**
Well the Taj is totally, 100 % worth visiting. Its beyond beautiful.
We lined up with about 200 other tourists for the dawn veiwing, sat on a step and waiting for the sun to come up. Spectacular.
We spent about 2 hours there, and the mosque and other monuments were awesome as well. We wished we could have spent another day in Agra, there's so much to see. A lot of people (online) say Agra is polluted, crowded and full of touts but we didnt find that at all.
The only problem we had was leaving - all the nice, aircon, deluxe buses were pre-booked so we had to catch the cramped ordinary bumpy bus to Jaipur (6 hours). Fin spent half the time holding a lady's baby!
And the bus dropped us off in Jaipur in the middle of no-where, miles from the hotel. And then the auto-richshaw guy (tuk-tuk driver) dropped us off 1km away from where we asked to be taken cos he was a bastard (he kept slowing down in front of hotels, "nice hotel madam, you go there" - keep driving mate!).
Finally got a 15 yr old kid to cycle-rickshaw us to the hotel, and its a lovely place. So clean, so clean. Cleaner than Indian clean (indian travellers know what I mean by Indian standards clean). They change your sheets daily! And do a rockin' pizza.
Hopped into a cycle-rick today, and panicked that I had lost my wallet! Couldnt find it anywhere! Oh shite! But of course, it was in the back pocket all along (i had my money belt around my waist and smaller change in the wallet. I'm such a duffer.
We went to the Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds) which looks lovely from the street, but is sadly neglected inside. The walls are scrawled with graffiti and windows are hanging off their hinges. I got really upset by seeing it, wondering if this is how India treats all of its heritage monuments, until we went to the Amber Fort.
Awesome. Great. Fantastic. We caught the ordinary bus there (8 rps each hehe) and then rode an elephant up the hill to the fort itself. So much fun, we were cacking ourselves the whole way. The elephants dont look sad, they arnt chained and there is a society for the care of elephants next door. The looked happy, if not a bit bored.
The fort it self looks cared for, and we took the audio tour which was a great idea. We heard about the Ranis (the harem) and the Raja, the courtiers etc etc and kept wondering what the place would have looked like when it was first built.
Fin and I kept getting asked by strangers to have our photos taken with their children - there were plenty of other NGs there (foriegners) but it was just us. Maybe we look approachable (i think we do hehe).
Well, its getting late. Time to go to bed. Big day of shopping 2moro, then the night train to Udaipur.
Namaste! xx Bex