Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Asian Adventure: Day 33 Taj Mahal

We woke up to find out that the fog had not disappeared - in fact it was so thick we could hardly see beyond the hotel garden. There was no way we were going to be able to see a towering white marble building through this fog!

Not wanting to completely loose optimism or waste the day, we decided to wander over to Agra Fort in hopes that the fog would begin to lift. Like the Red Fort in Delhi, the Agra Fort was a collection of white marble and red stone buildings inside a massive red stone wall. Thankfully we were still able to enjoy the fort despite the fog - although it definitely hampered the ability to get any great photos.



By early afternoon the fog was still showing no sign of relenting so we grabbed a cycle rickshaw back towards Agra Gant for lunch. We ate lunch at Joney's Place - a restaurant famous amongst the guidebooks for its amazing food and minuscule kitchen - and then wandered around town wondering if we would ever be able to really see the Taj Mahal or if we would have to resort to glimpses of it through the fog.

The view from Agra Fort to the Taj Mahal less than 500 m away

Camel cart


Joney's Place

Smallest restaurant kitchen

Fantastic food

Oxen walking down the street

Cow wandering into a hotel lobby

Doctor's office

Finally at 2:00 PM the fog began to show promise of lifting and with only four hours left in Agra, we decided we could not wait any longer. We bought our tickets and made our way towards the Taj Mahal.

Entering the Taj Mahal

Our first glimpse of the Taj through the fog

Thankfully the fog continued to clear, so we found ourselves a peaceful spot in the gardens and we waited... and waited... and waited. 

For once our waiting was not for naught - by late afternoon a hint of blue was visible in the sky and we were rewarded with a stunning view of the immense white marble building.

Dave trying to get the perfect shot

We had officially crossed the second item off our bucket lists within one trip!

As the sun began to set, we finally dragged ourselves away from the Taj, went back to the hotel to collect our bags and made our way to the train station.

By time we arrived at the train station, the fog had returned with a vengeance and it was so thick you could not actually see across the tracks from one platform to another. We didn't even need to look at the schedule board to know what was coming - our train that was supposed to leave Agra at 5:40 PM was delayed due to weather - big surprise!

We found ourselves a seat on the platform with a couple other tourists and we waited... and waited... and waited.

The train finally pulled into the station just before 10:00 PM. We were supposed to arrive in Jaipur at 10:20 PM! Thankfully we were in a sleeper car so we made ourselves comfortable in our bunks and went to sleep. At 4:00 AM we were miraculously woken by activity on the train having not heard any station announcements for the past six hours - we had arrived in Jaipur. Groggily we hailed a taxi and made our way to the hotel to try to get some decent sleep in the few remaining hours before daylight (and the hotel generator) would wake us up.

Our bunks on the train

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