Tarun and Yogita's Travel Blog

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trip to North India

On our way to explore the still traditional Northern India, our first stop was the pride of India, the TajMahal. On our first travel in India, after a long hiatus, we both were pleasantly surprised by the commencement of our journey through the Indian railways. An AC chair car ticket not only buys you a comfortable seat for the journey, but also a water bottle, a newspaper, some tea and a sumptuous meals. The trains are no less in comparison to any European train (atleast the first class).

We got down at the Agra Cantt station. May be it was our backpacks that introduced us to changed group of rickshaw wallas. They talked to us in good English as if we were foreigners. However, due to our stay abroad we were not expecting their persistent pestering on picking up their services. We settled on one of them for the travel to Taj Mahal. It is interesting for a hindi speaker to note the differences in dialect and rhythm of language as one moves between places in the North India. The rickshaw wallah dropped us at the Taj while entertained us with his stories along the way. It was heartening to hear his daughter going to school for a better future.

Just a side note, the pestering of many Indian rickshaw pullers though really annoying has a reason behind it. It's the failure of the state to provide safety net or opportunities to those who need it the most. This is not a problem that could be solved in days, however, would be solved in our lifetime, but in any case having a perspective that these guys are forced to pester us to ensure their family eats may subside this annoyance.

At the Taj, we found great security measures being followed which was good. Nothing apart from our wallet, a bottle of water and a camera were allowed inside. After depositing our bags here we were at the beautiful monument of true love. Taj's eternal beauty is awe inspiring, gaping at the monument, we enjoyed the beauty of its perfect symmetry, the gardens (char bagh) and the reflection of the Taj in fountain waters. As we got closer the enormity of the tomb dawned on us. Shoes were not allowed inside the Taj, however, it was neat to walk on the cold marble bare feet. Frankly, the beauty of Taj up close may not be unparalleled, but the monument is an architectural master piece. We ate at Zorba the Buddha, a very nice pure vegeterian restaurant in Sadar Bazar, Agra.

Our next destination is Bharatpur, Rajasthan and we decided to take the state roadways bus. This may not be a great idea if one wants a hassle free journey, but a great way to get acquainted with the real people who have a great sense of acceptance for everybody (unfortunately the status quo dismal transport system as well).

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