April 21-23, 2018
I have reached the end of my volunteering and am exiting India via the port of New Delhi! My sweet friend Kaitlin, that I met while volunteering, is accompanying me on my last hurrah in India.
New Delhi is far more fast-paced than Mumbai – more people, more traffic, more noise, more everything.
While in Delhi we saw:
Red Fort (didn’t go inside)
Chandni Chowk Market
Spice Market at Chandni Chowk (literally couldn’t breathe here, everyone was sneezing and coughing, the air was so full of spices)
Sihk Temple – you have to cover your hair, so we became peasant women
Akshardham temple (no cameras, phones, food, life, allowed inside the temple, but here’s a picture from google! It was beautiful!)
On Sunday, we hopped on a bus tour to Agra to see Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. Our day started at 4:45am to make it to the pick-up spot. We struggled a bit to find the right pick-up location, but eventually we were safe with the tour group and on our way to Agra! Agra is about 3-4 hours from New Delhi.
Our first stop was Agra Fort. This place is beautiful and has tons of rich history, as well as a view of the Taj Mahal in the distance. I wish I could re-iterate some of the interesting history, but I don’t remember enough and I would just be taking facts off Wikipedia… So, google it yourself!
Fort Agra – fun fact! Only 25% of the Fort is available for tourism (the original living quarters of the rulers), the other 75% is still occupied and used by the Indian Army!
This is inside the fort. If you look the middle of the picture you can see a hole in the wall above the left side archway, there is also a crack in the black slab of marble – these markings were made by a cannon ball a loooooong time ago that accident was fired and bounced around in this area, causing some damage. Oops.
Taking selfies while the guide speaks in Hindi.
View of the Taj Mahal from Fort Agra!
Now for the big boy – The Taj Mahal. For anyone that told me that this place is not worth going to and it’s “just a building”, I am SO glad I didn’t listen to you. The Taj Mahal is liiiit, boys and girls. It is everything you picture and more. We loved every second of our time on the grounds. We didn’t go inside to see the tombs, as we didn’t have time, but I don’t regret that because I didn’t even know it was an option to go inside TBH. Ignorance is bliss in this instant. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be, it was fairly quiet, almost peaceful!
We got on the bus to head back towards New Delhi around 5:30pm, stopped at two places that have to do with Lord Krishna (the birth place and the place that he spent his childhood). But by this point me and Kaitlin were DONE and there was no longer any staff member on the bus that could speak English. Great. We went into one temple, Mathura, but, again, could not bring camera or phone or shoes or life, so no photos. And then the next place we went to, by now it was like 9pm, pitch black out, and we couldn’t understand anything being said, we didn’t even get off the bus.
We eventually arrived back in New Delhi at our sketchy drop off area at 1am, when we asked the bus driver if he could help us get a tuk tuk to get home safely, he flatly said “no”. Alright, sir. We were able to get our own rickshaw and made it home safe, thank God.
This felt like the longest day of my LIFE. But it was well worth it.
Just look at this beauty. The Taj, not me 😉
My time in India is now complete!