Me-go: Around-the-World

Where I Slept: Agra, India


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Agra, India

Agra, India | 8 December, 2006 | $4.45

This is it. The Taj Mahal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and an iconic image that everyone I know is familiar with. These places are always the trickiest to visit because they are always overly-crowded and often a let down from the mystique surrounding them.

A number of tourists staying my hotel refused to go into the Taj because of the high price (almost $17 USD at the time for non-Indians). I guess they were satisfied with the great view from the hotel’s rooftop resturaunt, but I was determined to see the Taj in the best light possible with the least amount of people. I had a cartwheel photo to take, after all. Setting off at dawn I made arrived at the gate as the grounds opened. It was much more crowded than I expected for the time but I did well in getting there so early and avoiding the school groups and tour buses that streamed in after I’d spent a few hours exploring.

There are other attractions in Agra, including the gorgeous Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort (both UNESCO Heritage sites). Unfortunately, despite clear agreements beforehand, my rickshaw driver asked for three times the agreed upon price. I didn’t give in but he was sure persistent, following me down the street and yelling at me. By this point in my travels being asked to be in a stranger’s photo isn’t very surprising but this was the first time I was asked to pose with a newborn baby in an extended family group photo before. I wish I had a copy!

Oh, you want to see the pretty Taj photos? They’re here in the gallery.