Well, the viewers’ vote came in, thanks to everyone that basically said “What?! It’s the Taj Mahal! You’ve got to go!”. I went.
OK, it was very beautiful, and I’m glad I saw it, but the journey there possibly made for the worst day I’ve had in India so far! For some reason I decided to take a day trip from Jaipur to go to Agra – a day trip from Jaipur to Agra means about six hours on the bus – each way – all for about an hour at the Taj Mahal. This whole experience gets more frustrating when a) souvenir-selling, begging and requests for baksheesh go through the roof, b) the rickshaw drivers make the ones everywhere else I’ve been look easy-going and honest, and c) Indians who don’t know the meaning of the word ‘QUEUE’ shove in front of you when you’re waiting to get into the Taj. Much like when Andrew, Randy and I were pestered by souvenir sellers at Ajanta, I felt like I was starting to get ‘stabby’.
It was tiring in the extreme, and there’s me with that old image of Lady Diana sitting on the bench at dawn looking wistfully over her shoulder at the Taj Mahal… I’m not in a position to dispense much advice yet from my travels, but one bit would be to NEVER do a day trip to Agra, and to get to the Taj first thing in the morning before heat and crowds conspire to ruin a beautiful place. And it was beautiful, its cleverest trick being to be so impressive as to make all the crowds buzzing around it insignificant.