Sunday, December 28, 2008

relief in agra

Ahhhhhgra. A breath of fresh air. Relatively clean, less touts, good prices, healthy food and a world-class monument, what else can a traveler ask for? I could tell we were in a new phase of our trip when we arrived late into Agra on the train and I wasn't stressed, the roads were paved, and I could see the stars burning brightly on this chilly desert night. We got up before dawn to see the Taj Mahal, THE monument to romantic love (the Shah built it for his wife who died in childbirth), which was shrouded in an ephemeral mist. Then, we took some time to wander through Agra Fort, a sandstone red complex that stood to protect the royalty more from the revolt of their subjects than invaders.

The following day we took a day trip on the insanely overfilled local bus to Fatehpur Sikri, a city built as the new dynasty and abandoned 20 years later due to the lack of water. Because of the short tenure of human habitation, the place is well preserved and some of the details remaining are quite exquisite carvings and decorative flourishes As we strolled through the abandoned streets of this ancient city, I was wishing all of India was a placid as this place.

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