Thank god we had decided not to stay the night in Agra! Firstly obviously it was very touristy so we couldn’t actually walk for 5 minutes without being approached by a shopkeeper or a tuktuk driver. Secondly we had booked the cheapest hostel ever which was the equivalent of £1.50 or $3 each for a private room. Not really sure how it had a rating of 8.9/10 on Booking.com if I’m honest… It was pretty disgusting, tiny and COVERED in black mould. We just used it as a place to stash our bags and nap later on, before our train to Jaipur.
After we had ditched our bags we headed off to the one and only Taj Mahal! As we were about to enter, we were approached by a guy who said he could be our guide for 200 Rupees. We figured we had spent 1000 Rupees each on the entry fee anyway so what was another 100 Rupees each and agreed.
Our very first photo in the Taj Mahal was greenest… #datsmog
So our guide was actually a pretty shit guide. We saw on a sign later that he even got the amount of years it took to build the Taj Mahal wrong! But what he lacked to be a guide, he made up for with his photography skills! He took a bunch of great photos of us and worked all our angles! He even came up with a few of those creative but cringy photos!
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for one of Shah Jahal’s wives and it is also where he was buried when he died. This wife has the grandest mausoleum of the three wives because she gave him a bunch of children, whereas the other two gave him none. Lucky lady!
On either side of the Taj are two identical mosques which are beautiful but nowhere near compare to the spectacle of the Taj!
After what was pretty much a photoshoot, our guide told us he would show us a few other things outside the Taj Mahal. I had this feeling that we shouldn’t leave the Taj Mahal because it wouldn’t be worth it but unfortunately we didn’t listen to that instinct! He took us to see two shops. One that sold marble ornaments and mini Taj Mahals made of marble and another that sold jewellery with “the star of India” which is black dioxide gemstone. As beautiful as the items were, we didn’t actually have money to spend on more stuff, let alone the luggage space to spare and it would have been better to just make the most of our Taj Mahal ticket!
After leaving him, we played the fools and somehow managed to get security to let us back in by explaining we didn’t realise the guide was taking us past the exit.
We spent another hour or so inside the grounds taking in the beauty of it then grabbed the most expensive and average lunch we had eaten in a month!
Noticing that we could see a couple of other things using our Taj Mahal ticket, we tuktuked to tomb of I’timād-ud-Daula. It was at the entrance that we discovered that it was actually just a 10 Rupee discount rather than free entrance! Seeing as we were there, we had a look. It was a very beautiful building with marble mosaic exterior walls and painted interior walls.
Well and truly pooped, we headed back to the hotel for a nap, to pick up our bags and headed for the station.
Our very last Indian train was AC Chair Car class and because it was the fast train, dinner was included! Literally 4 trays of yummy snacks, dinner, dessert and drinks came out! We made friends with the right waiter because he came back to us for a round two of ice cream 😉
Everything was going great until we go to Jaipur station…