Most of February 10th was allocated for the drive from Agra to Jaipur, visiting Fatehpur Sikri and the Abhaneri step well en route – a good 5 hours of drive time, plus stops. But at least we were fortunate enough to be travelling in the reasonably spacious comfort of an air-conditioned car…
Other than the undeniable beauty of the Taj Mahal, Agra was the least interesting stop on our tour – apart from the Taj itself, the rest of the city isn’t much to look at, and although the Red Fort had some attractive elements too, it’s the only place we visited which I wouldn’t bother to go back to.
All that notwithstanding, sunrise at the Taj Mahal was absolutely worth the trip!
After a couple of wonderfully hectic (or should that be hectically wonderful?!) days in Kathmandu, we flew back to India. Next on the itinerary: Varanasi, or Banaras as it is called by most of the Indians we spoke to.
In describing my experience of Varanasi to people, the word I keep coming back to is “magical”. There was just something about being in a place which is so ancient and so meaningful to so many people, even despite the lunatic traffic and incessant noise.
“There’s a cow. Right there. In the middle of the road.” I knew, of course, that this was something to be expected, but it was quite something else to actually see it for myself, let alone on the drive from Delhi airport to the first hotel of the trip. This turned out to be an excellent beginning – our entire time in India was filled with contrasts and colours, constant noise, ceaseless movement, and I loved it! (And, now we’re home again, Manhattan is feeling remarkably dull and quiet, which is something I never thought I’d say…!)