NEW DELHI, AGRA, JAIPUR
After 3-hours flight from Muscat we are landing in the capital of India – New Delhi. This huge city with more than 20 million people is in comparison with Europe much dirtier and noisier but I knew from the beginning we won’t get bored here.
We have experienced busy traffic in Bangkok before, Marrakesh was pretty crazy as well but it was nothing comparing to the traffic in New Delhi… Imagine all vehicles you know plus rickshaws, tuk-tuks, wagons and then also as a bonus cows, goats, pigs and dogs crossing the road whenever they want… And then you get time to time motorbike, car or a bike coming towards you in a wrong direction. It was a real experience to see this. From the airport it took us 1,5 hour to get to the hotel where we just dropped our bags and went out for a walk. Hectic traffic and honking didn’t stop until late or better to say early hours of the next day.
Today we started the day with free walking tour with our guide Shati, young student with decent knowledge of the history and also the presence of New Delhi. She took us to some parts of the city where we would’t go for sure. The tour started in front of Red Fort which once used to be the most important temple in India. Red it’s because it was built from the red sandstone. At the moment there is a museum inside and it’s the part of World heritage of UNESCO.
Today was the day when we were supposed to visit the highlight of our trip to India. It was the visit of one of the most beautiful building ever made – famous Taj Mahal. We had to wake up a bit earlier than usual but you’d do it if you want to make your dream come true, wouldn’t you? We took the express train from New Delhi at 6am and it took us 2 hours to get to Agra. There is a light breakfast included in the price which was quite handy. You need to start with the tour of Taj Mahal as soon as you come to Agra to avoid the influx of tourists later on. It’s better to leave the visit of Agra Fort for later and with the ticket from Taj Mahal you also get a discount.
Right after we came we booked a driver for a whole day to sort out the transport in the city. Apart from money, passport and camera you can’t take anything else inside. You need to leave everything else in the locker and after you buy the ticket don’t forget to pick up the water and shoe covers which is already included in the price. You can also get a tour guide which is offered to you when you come to the ticket counter. You should definitely go for it. This service is for free but some tips are expected at the end of the tour. So, here we go – Taj Mahal… I’ll try to describe something which is almost impossible to describe unless you see it with your own eyes. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built this temple as a sign of devotion to his third wife Mumtaz when she died by giving a birth of their 14th child. Both of them are also buried inside. The Temple of love as it is often called is a masterpiece of architectural perfection, harmony and symmetry.
Before we came to India we expected the trains to be like the ones we all know from the movies, totally packed sometimes even with people sitting on the roof… If you expect something like this you’ll be disappointed. Morning express train from New Delhi to Agra is a normal train with A/C and breakfast, similar to those ones we have at home. Evening train from Agra to Jaipur looked a bit tired though but it’s also regular sleeper train you’ve already seen before. We had a little nap in those bunk beds and in a few hours we were getting off in Jaipur.
Jaipur – Pink city. We took a tuk-tuk from the hotel right into the city centre to the main attraction – Hawa Mahal – the wind palace. 5-storeys building with many floors used to be a women’s palace in the past and there is a beautiful view of the city from there.
Let me get back to the traffic again. We really liked how they respect the animals on the road. You just hear the honking all the time but if there is any animal crossing the road and trust me it’s quite often everyone is silent and they just go around the animal. On other hand European tourist is for the locals walking wallet and everyone is trying to offer or sell you something and of course with at least 4 times higher price so my only advice is to bargain and bargain again…
Today we started with our favourite free walking tour of Jaipur with our guide Hussey from Free Day Tour. We were glad we could find out so many interesting facts about the city. We started by the wind palace and from there we went to the Old town next to the king’s palace. The flag on the roof was blowing in the wind which means that young king was at home.
We finished our tour next to the wind palace and went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and went back to the station to board the train back to New Delhi. But we were unpleasantly surprised when we were told our train was due to a strike cancelled. We only had 2 options how to get to New Delhi. Either by bus or by taxi. While dealing with the cancellation we started to chat with 3 Chinese girls with the same problem and decided to take a big taxi and share it with them. Little bit of adventure at the end of the day but with the happy end at the end…
Today was our last day in New Delhi before the evening flight and we decided to visit a few more interesting places. We started with shopping at the local market and then we continued to the city center a place called General Secretariat. It’s a large area with many government buildings, beautiful gardens and fountains on one side and famous India Gate on the other side.
From there we went to visit another famous landmark – Humayun’s tomb. It’s a tomb of Indian mogul Humayun with beautifully designed gardens and even better decorated palaces.
Tip 1: Book a free walking tour in advance (Dilli and Jaipur) and you’ll find out many interesting facts about the city. It’s for free but it’s expected to leave some tips at the end of the tour.
Tip 2: Start the tour of Taj Mahal early in the morning to avoid the flow of tourists later on. Keep the ticket from Taj Mahal and show it once you come to Agra Fort, you’ll get a discount.
Tip 3: In Jaipur don’t forget to visit wind temple Hawa Mahal and Amber Fort. If you have enough time it’s worth to buy a multi ticket with 10 entries into the most famous landmarks in the city.
Tip 4: In New Delhi don’t forget to visit Akshardham temple and Humayun’s tomb.
(prices as of February 2016)
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