Cricket at the Taj Mahal

We took an overnight train from Varanasi to Agra, home of the wondrous Taj Mahal, supposedly the most beautiful building in the world. As we only had about eight hours until our next train was scheduled to leave Agra, the five of us booked a couple of auto-rickshaws to ferry us around to the major sites for the day.

Our immediate interest was food, so we visited the well-recommended Joney's Place. This was a real winner, with great drinks and a Malai Kofta (a fried ball of mashed potato, cheese and vegetables in curry sauce) that was so good we had two for brunch!

We then headed out to the so-called "Baby Taj", a mausoleum built before the Taj Mahal in a similar style from intricately carved white marble.

Next we went to a spot where it is possible to view the Taj Mahal from across the river that runs next to the famous building. Here Marty was coaxed into a game of beach cricket with some local kids who were pretty good considering there were no wickets, sticks for a bat and an oversized ping-pong ball!

Then we visited Agra Fort, which had a colourful history, a lovely white marble mosque, gardens and views of the Taj Mahal.

Then it was finally time to visit the real reason anyone comes to Agra, the Taj Mahal. The entrance price is 20 Rupees (60 Aussie cents) for Indians, and 750 Rupees for foreigners! Although very hyped, the Taj lived up to expectations. It really is a masterpiece of architecture, elegant and majestic with gorgeous gardens and lovely surrounding buildings. The area was crowded but still peaceful, except for the dark interior which resembled a mosh pit. We watched the sun set and the yellow light play on the Taj, a perfect end to a very interesting day. We spent an hour at the Taj just looking around and wished we had much more time to enjoy the place fully.

We said goodbye to our friends who had different plans and our rickshaw driver took us back to the train station. Then we moved on to Jaipur in Rajasthan, India's desert state.

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