Sitting on the train on our way from Agra to Ochra with five hours ahead of me I thought it might be a good time to write a blog. Following the 5am start we caught a train to Agra, which was on time, reasonably fast and they provided us breakfast. Indian Railways apparently the biggest employer in the world moves a vast amount of people around India everyday.
With only a day in Agra we saw both of the big ticket items in one day, the Agra Fort in the morning and the Taj Mahal in the afternoon.
The Agra Fort is amazingly preserved. Over half of the fort is still used by the Indian National Army, however visitors have access to most of the old palace. The fort had fantastic security measures similar to those I remember reading about in children story books; crocodiles in the moat, Bengal tigers behind the first wall, hot oil at the front gate and down the entrance path. The palace itself made of red sand stone and white marble is still very impressive despite the fact that it has been pillaged for all it’s gold and jewels. Metal hooks remain in place from where the Mogal kings hung their swings and looked down over beautiful square or down the river Yamuna to the Taj Mahal after its construction.
After a brief break and lunch at a local restaurant (everyone is getting their appetite back slowly), we headed out for sunset at the Taj. The Taj Mahal is truly a wonder of the world and so valued by the Indian people. It was overflowing with visitors, mostly Indian nationals visiting their most famous icon.
Dinner was at a South Indian chain restaurant where everyone had their full appetite back. Matt dug into a thali, while Andrew, Toria and I all had Dosais. We are really enjoying getting to know the rest of our travelling companions, so far it appears we have been blessed with a pretty easy going group.
Now as I watch the countryside go past I am chatting with our guide and Matt about all the wonders and complexities of India and Indian society. How great it is to be here 🙂