Agra, marble, feathers and mosaics

Agra, marble, feathers and mosaics

23 June 2019 0 By Guillaume

J11: Agra


It’s not only always the same chaos when we arrive at an Indian bus station. De dust, horns, pollution, dirt and 3 drivers of tuktuk that assault us with crazy prices when we’re barely get off the bus. Prices end up going down in a hustle and bustle that becomes familiar.

Agra is a three-hour drive south of New Delhi. This is usually the first or last stop on a trip to Northern India as it is the city of the Taj Mahal, the world’s most famous mausoleum and visited by millions of tourists every year.

My belly is better. It’s like I’m regaining autonomy. We took accommodation in the tourist area southeast of the Taj Mahal (and the city). Nearby is a garden with a few birds. It’s 100r…

The garden offers beautiful views of the Taj and we see some peacocks and other common birds. The place is pretty quiet. The view of the Taj is probably more suitable in the morning at sunrise.

Our Coral Tree guesthouse is top notch. We enjoy a delicious dinner (for those who can) in order to get to know some Western travelers. All planned to devote one (only) day to Agra. The awakening will be morning and the day long before leaving for the next steps of our travels.

It is 5am when the first visitors to the Taj noisily walk down the steps of the guesthouse. The pinnacle of the Taj’s visit is to be on site (located 10 minutes walk), ticket in pocket and security spent for sunrise (6:30).

The price seems astronomical, 1300r/pers, 18. 30% more than the instructions of the backpacker’s guide that same year. 40r if you’re Indian!

For safety, it’s better to be well informed. Among other things, leave knife, drone, gun, bomb but also water, food and book! The search is serious. We will narrowly save the book of Poussin and Tesson’s adventures across the Himalayas.

At 6:30 a.m., the first Sunday in April, the crowds are correct. Of course, there is the queue to take instagram selfies of the Taj kind of reflection in the basin, under the front door and perfect symmetry. Groups of all civilizations rub shoulders, burqas rub shoulders with mini-shorts, hipster rub shoulders with good father of large family. We left India for a few hours 🙂

After 30 minutes of trying to capture the color variations of the dome related to the sunrise, we see the grey hornbill. This bird looks like a grey toucan with a bump on its beak. We met him briefly in Polonaruwa, Sri Lanka. So it’s a pleasure to watch his flight “flying banana” (flying banana but gray). We leave the Taj to look at what this garden can offer us. And we discover other birds including many raptors. I think they were put here to take down the pigeons that had disgustinged the white marble of the work!

Without hurrying, we spent 3 hours looking at the most famous marble on the planet and as there is nothing to eat there, we were happy to find a great breakfast at the guesthouse.

For the rest, it is the trade of the tourist. The red strong costs 500r. We thought the entrance was included with our entrance to the Taj. In addition, we were advised not to do so after Fatehpur Sikri.

Baby Taj has nothing to do with the Taj

The baby Taj, 300r. Thinner in the mosaics and in the middle of a Persian garden, this we like it very much. At the bottom, young people bathe in the river. It there are also buffaloes and people cleaning clothes.

However, the zeal for security on the contents of our bags eventually encouraged us to leave. We decide to leave Rajasthan tired of the horns, scams, whistles, selfies, insistent glances, lack of courtesy and high temperatures of the beginning of April (38-40 degrees). We booked seats on a train to Delhi and then a second train to Dehra Dun. It’s a 20-hour drive!


Train 12641 departs at 15:15 (from Agra Cantt) to Nizamuddin station (Delhi). We will take an Uber to Old Delhi station before taking the train 14041 at 22:25.

Dehra Dun is found in Uttarakhand in the Himalayas in western Nepal and southern Tibet. We hope to find some freshness, mountains and tranquil nature.

The arrival at Dehra Dun is scheduled for 8:25. We booked a cabin with first class berth. First relief when our places were confirmed as we were on the waiting list (WL position 2 and 3). Second relief to find ourselves at 2 in the cabin (not 4 or separate). We’ll sleep very well.

Our itinerary: