Today I had to wake up early since my train was leaving at the New Delhi Train Station at 08:10. Luckily, Pahar Ganj is not really far away from the train station. I booked the train ticket to Agra Cantt in advance using the iPhone App of Cleartrip. After having an registered Clear Trip account its quite easy to book the ticket. The only thing you have to consider is that trains in India are booked out fast and therefore you have to book the ticket some days in advance.
I booked a ticket for the Upper Bed in the Second Sleeper Class. Being 1,87m tall is in India quite an disadvantage since you don’t have a real space everywhere. This was also on the train the case and I was able to sit up straight on the upper bed. The train journey was also amazing since I was able to have a small chat and a Chai with some Indian.
Agra is different to Delhi in its appearance. Especially Taj Ganj which is shaped by a muslim majority reminds me more on my trip in Egypt. The people in Taj Ganj are quite poor and live simple but happy lives. The Taj Ganj is perfect when you are planing to visit the Taj Mahal only for one day since its about 15 Minutes walk away from it. Many hostels in different qualities and price levels can be found there.
I checked in into the Shahjahan Hotel which is quite near to the West Gate. This hotel was recommended by my tourist guide as a good budget hostel. It’s also only 5 Minutes walk away from the Taj Mahal. The room and bathroom was quite ok for Indian standards, not much luxury but clean.
I started walking to the Taj Mahal after having a small power-nap at the hotel. Arriving at the Taj after about 5 Minutes I had first to get a ticket. The ticket price is quite high with 750 Rupees – for example Indian citizen only pay 5 Rupees for the same ticket. I had some problems with the tripod of my GroPo at the security check and had to put it to the locker which also costed additional 20 Rupees. Tripods and similar things are not allowed at the Taj Mahal.
Visiting the Taj Mahal was every rupee worth. It’s an amazing huge building which was build using white marble. Looking at this building, the people 300 years ago did an awesome job. But also the other buildings around the Taj are also worth to visit. I also did the obligatory Taj Mahal Tourist shot with the help of another tourist. I did not want to ask some Indian guy since this could have been ended into a long sales chat.
Leaving the Taj Mahal behind me, I went with a Motor-Rickshaw directly to the Agra Fort. Unfortunately, the Agra Fort closes at 5pm, but an Indian guy gave me a tip that there is a lightshow in Hindi starting at 6pm. I bought therefore a ticket for 150 rupees. The light was not that good for making nice pictures since the sun already began to set. But it was worth to go inside the fort since there was no tourist in the fort and so I was able to enjoy the fort as much as possible.
What I forgot to mention: Its cold here! It’s colder than I’ve expected to be in India. My softshell jacket is sometimes too less for the chilly mornings and evenings. My research seems to be wrong because I’ve expected around 16-19 degree Celsius. But effectively its around 10-15 degree Celsius. Especially in the train with the wind it’s sometimes to cold and therefore I am planning to buy a warmer pullover in Lucknow or a blanket in Varanasi.
I have to sleep now since I have to take the train at 05:50 at Agra Cantt Train Station to Lucknov. I’ve decided to do one stop before Varanasi in order to be able to work a bit in a more relaxed situation then staying at the train.