After Varanasi and Delhi we just had to fill the gaps.
There were three possibilities in getting any help:
- asking a travel agency based in Italy
- asking a travel agency based in India
- organizing on our own
You should know us to understand some points in this post.
We just have some inhibition, when we want to enter the door of a travel agency.
It seems un-functional for us, like the hop off/hop on busses or the stores that promise to sell your articles on eBay for you or the pre-packed frozen cooked vegetables.
Sure, it takes off the difficulty from one’s shoulder, if they propose a package, travel agencies work in their industry since decades and know the hotels and the places and the airplane connections, but on the other hand you are not free anymore to choose, what you want to choose, you get something, that they offer from their portfolio.
I mean, I’m quite sure, that every agency can arrange to get us to the Taj Mahal and if we would have entered their door, they could have saved us time with the organization, but again BUT, we are just not the right people to do this.
The Indian Agencies are superb. I even don’t remember how I got to them – internet is becoming a huge jungle – maybe after we bought the airplane tickets, I saw an ad on some site and clicked on it, who knows.
One day I just got an email, that they would be really happy to help us to organize our trip, wherever we want to, we can decide the cities we’d like to visit and they’ll organize the rest.
It seems perfect, doesn’t it? The only problem is, that they also work with their affiliated hotels and affiliated spots, so at the last, you again are not free to decide.
Our problems with their affiliated hotels was that those were international 5 star hotels, which excludes the idea of eco-tourism. We wanted to go to India and not in special marked cabs. I’m sure, they make a real business, and it’s our attitude, that doesn’t fit into this image.
So we remain alone. (You’ll say: “as you wanted” and you’re right). We dropped the agencies from one door and opened another door to let enter INTERNET in our house.
Internet is something perfect.
Do you want to organize the local transportation? Be sure, that on www.makemytrip.com you can even book bus tickets and print them as an e-ticket!
Install the India Rail Info extension for Chrome from the http://indiarailinfo.com/ website, so you can easily look up any train, you need!
If you can’t decide between two locally held hotels, read the traveller’s opinion on lonelyplanet.com, virtualtourist.com, tripadvisor.com you’ll find someone, who already was there and has more to share as you may imagine.
So we had our artillery against the pre-organized tours and dived into the organization.
The first, we saw, that there is a so called Golden Triangle that is widely known for North-Indian tourism. It covers basically three cities: Delhi – Jaipur – Agra.
Delhi is done 🙂
Jaipur didn’t tell us a word, Agra?….then we saw…Agra equals to see the Taj Mahal!
So we found something, what we really wanted to see.
We get to Agra on November 18th at 11 P.M, so we only will have time to get to the hotel and sleep a bit (BTW: it was the best decision to get there on Friday night, Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays).
We leave November 20th at 21:20 by train to get to Varanasi, so we’ll have only one day to visit this city.
We absolutely have to start at the TajMahal. We could go there by foot, as our hotel is really near to it, it is round the corner. It read on one of the forums, that to avoid queues, we should get to the Taj Mahal at 6:30. I don’t think, it will be a problem, also, if we’ll arrive late, the next night we can sleep in the train.
After the Taj Mahal we head to the Agra Fort
It would also be great to get to Fatephur Sikri, but I hardly think, we’ll have time to get there. It’s almost 40 km-s away from Agra….better not to over-organize the time we have at our disposal.
After lunch we’ll hang out in Ram Bagh. A Mughal Garden.
The garden is a Persian garden, where pathways and canals divide the garden to represent the Islamic ideal of paradise, an abundant garden through which rivers flow. The Aram Bagh provides an example of a variant of the charbagh in which water cascades down three terraces in a sequence of cascades. Two viewing pavilions face the Jumna river and incorporates a subterranean ‘tahkhana’ which was used during the hot summers to provide relief for visitors. The garden has numerous water courses and fountains.