We flew from Leh back to Delhi.
After bidding goodbye to our beloved trekking group, we were on our way to Agra. The 4 of us extended our trip by one day for sightseeing.
A 2-hr car ride later, we stopped over for some breaks. We ordered fries cos we missed the fries we had in Leh-Ling Book Shop.
After another 2-hr ride, we had our lunch at Priya restaurant, where we had our best meal ever 🙂 The best chicken and the best sauce we had so far!
Finally.. after 10 days of “hardship”, we checked in Hotel Radisson Blu Agra 🙂 Our guide was already waiting for us at the hotel.
We started our sightseeing from the Agra Fort, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.
The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India. It was built with bricks in the inner core with red sand stones on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573.
The Jehangir’s Palace, probably built by the third Mughal emperor, Akbar, for his son Jehangir.
Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan, who built the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, tended to have buildings made from white marble. It is rumoured that Shah Jahan was imprisoned for eight years and died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.
Diwan-i-Am, also known as the Hall of Audience, was where Shah Jahan listened to petitions from ordinary citizens.
While the sun was setting, we quickly rushed to Mehtab Bagh, a garden complex where we were able to have a good view of Taj Mahal from across the Yamuna River.
The Taj Mahal seemed super crowded, probably due to the public holiday.
We had our dinner at Taj Mahal Family Restaurant. Since it was our last dinner in India, we had a really sumptuous one.
We woke up at 5am the next day to Taj Mahal, and it was already crowded at this hour.
Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
When inside the Taj, you must either wear shoe covers or barefoot.
A huge section of the front façade was currently under Work in progress.
And so after cropping them off, this was what’s left 😀
Check out the stark contrast before and after cleaning…
After the Taj tour, we went back to our hotel for breakfast and shower, before we proceeded to Agrasen ki Baoli.
Agrasen ki Baoli is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well in New Delhi.
We only stayed here for a good 10-minute, not because it was haunted, but because we didn’t have much time in Delhi.
Next, we were brought to this beautifully decorated Haveli in Old Delhi, as part of our half day tour (http://www.masterjikeehaveli.com/). It is an old private mansion in which a single family is living from generations. We were happy to hide into this air-conditioned gem, away from the heat outside.
The owner was very friendly and hospitable. We were treated to a delicious home-cooked meal and we especially appreciated their piping hot puri!
After that, we started our Old Delhi Bazaar Walk excitedly, greeting friendly shopkeepers along the way… “RAM RAM”. It was quite a fast walk, but we still made some stops for food tasting and mingling with the locals.
Due to time constraint, we hopped on the cycle rickshaw and had a quick tour around the Old Delhi Bazaar. It was overall an enjoyable and eye-opening 2-hour tour 🙂 We were sent promptly to the airport to catch our flight back to Singapore.
Goodbye Delhi, Goodbye India!