Thursday, 5 April 2012

Majestic Taj and mad streets

I boarded the local bus in Pushka on Fri 30 March, headed for Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan state.

Checked in to the strangest hotel - kinda a cross between faulty towers and an oversized motor inn. But it's close to the happenin' part of town so that's a good thing. It's a bit weird to be in a big city after the hectic but chilled towns of the desert state.

Headed out with the UK girls in rickshaws to see what the town had to offer. Saw a mighty big fort (yep, there's one in every town), another temple (about done with them) and some other cool sites in the Pink City. Dinner the second night was in the grounds of an amazing hotel. We now know what the accomm is like if you don't choose the basics trip!

Another morning, another local bus. This time to a small town called Bharatpur. Not sure why I stopped here for the night, I'm not into bird watching - the local tourist attraction. But we have a pool so you know how my afternoon went.

Woke up excited on Monday 4 April as we were off to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Although there was a little trepidation as I'd checked out Hotel Sheelah online and it looked really dodgy.

Liked my dodgy room at Hotel Sheelah, dumped the bags and went for a wander round town, planning to go to the Taj at 4. There seems to be a festival every day in India and while I'm not sure what this one was, it looked amazing seeing people walk down the street covered in colored powder and music pumping.

Next thing Nat and I are in the middle of everything, showered in pink and purple, dancing and laughing. Walking the back streets was a hoot covered in powder with everyone calling out Happy Holy.

Home for a quick shower then off to the Taj. It is very hard to describe something so amazing. Despite the hordes of tourists I was in awe.

Dinner at a roof top restaurant was fun as a mobile nightclub set up on the corner. The locals had all the moves!

Set the alarm for 5.30am and headed back to see the Taj at sunrise. Bonus of Hotel Sheelah is that it is only 5 mims from the east gate. There were quite a few oldies on front of us but they stopped to take pics of the entrance so the UK girls and I were the first people to enter through the arch and view the Taj. It was even more amazing to be there with no one else around.

Ah the serenity!

All set for the overnight train so went for a walk to fill in some time. You wouldn't believe it, the festival party headed down the street. I got covered in powder again but loved it. Managed a quick shower and change before heading to the station.

The overnight train was great, I slept for most of the 12 hours. I am now in Varanasi, the holiest city in India. I expect to be very pure by the time I leave here!

I have so many pics, will post links to the online album when I find decent wifi.

Posted from somewhere round the world...

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