After breakfast we hit the road to our next destination. Today we had to drive 160 miles to Agra. The highway to Agra was in a lot better shape than the highway between Delhi and Jaipur. Today was mainly a rural drive and a lot fewer towns. At 11:30 we stopped for lunch in Bharatpur. Like was the case yesterday, we had lunch in a palace.
After lunch it was an hours more drive until we reached Agra. We checked into our hotel and then went to see the Taj Mahal. We rode there in horse-drawn buggies. Below is a picture of the mosque on one of the sides of the Taj Mahal.
We walked through the gate and finally got to see what we had traveled half way around the world to see.
It is an amazing site.
No photography was allowed of the tombs inside. They wouldn't have come out anyway, it is very dark in there.
We took a group picture in front of the Taj Mahal.
Did you know that they have a running of the bulls here in Agra like they do in Spain? I gave it a shot as we were leaving the Taj Mahal.
We had dinner at the hotel when we returned. We will spend all day here in Agra tomorrow. We are going back to the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Since I have to get up early I will go to bed now.
Some of us got up very early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We were the very first ones let inside when they opened the gates this morning. It was a beautiful morning. The light was absolutely perfect. They said this was the first morning in a week that has been clear, so we really got lucky. Below is a picture of the gate we entered at sunrise. As you can see, no people yet. It was so peaceful.
I got a lot of good shots. Nice reflection in the early morning light in the picture below.
That is me on the left in the picture below. Nice reflection in this photo as well.
Below is a nice shot from the side looking through the trees with the Taj bathed in early morning light.
A nice close shot below as the sun is rising and casting a brighter light on the Taj.
I could include about a hundred more but I'll finish with a final distant shot after the sun was fully up.
We went back to the hotel for breakfast after leaving the Taj. Then we went to a marble inlay shop for another sales pitch. I would normally be pissed by this but they really had a lot of beautiful things. I actually purchased a beautiful large white marble elephant. It's too big to bring home so it is being shipped. They say it will take 4-6 weeks to get there. After I bought the elephant I guess they thought they had a sucker on the hook, so I got a private tour of the facility where they tried to sell me more stuff. I was tempted, they had some really nice things, but they didn't get any more money out of me.
Next we went to the Agra Fort. The ruins of this fort are located across the river from the Taj Mahal.
The shot below was taken inside this fort which was built in the 15th century.
Next we went to lunch at a local restaurant. I managed to crack a tooth while I was eating my lunch. I was eating rice at the time and wondered what that hard thing was in the rice. When I swallowed I noticed part of my tooth was gone. I went to see my dentist right before I left because I was haveing some occasional discomfort in one tooth and didn't want to have a problem while I was gone. He filed down a high point on one tooth and said I was fine. I didn't think that was the problem. I'm having no pain. Hopefully it will stay that way until I get home. I sure would hate to go to a dentist here.
Some of the other members of the group spent the afternoon visiting the local marketplace and having tea at a local home. I chose to skip that and spent a relaxing afternoon at the hotel. We have to get up early again tomorrow to catch a train to Khajuraho.
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