Delhi & Agra
Most of Happy’s family have never been to Taj Mahal or even out of the state! So talking them into going to Agra to see the Taj Mahal was a 3 month mission for me!! Jaskaran kept saying to me “why do you want to go there? my house is a Taj Mahal!”, it’s a problem they call here “village minded”, stuck in village life with no desire to explore further because “Punjab is the best!” This irritates me on a daily basis! But I did not give up and finally Happy’s Dad said ok go but take Sonu & Pinky with you, you’re not going there alone! I wasn’t sure how two of us being together was “alone” but his family are OTT on safety!
Happy & Sonu then spent days deciding whether we should go by car train or bus, I voted for train as it’s faster but all the tickets in the nicer seated parts were sold out for weeks so we finally decided on bus. They made several trips to the bus station to ask about bus types seat types etc, Pinky & I sat in the car and every time they would come back I asked where the tickets are?? Not booked yet !
Everything in India is so slow there are no fast decisions made!! That night they went back again when the buses were all parked so they could check them, Sonu called me and asked “air con or no air con” and then happy called “sleeper or seating” it turned into a family joke about the 100 bus questions and several phone calls that were made, Pinky & I rang back and said MAKE A DECISION ALREADY! Then Happy called back “Volvo or Mercedes” we just burst into laughter and hung up on him!!
We left by bus at 10pm from Amritsar and it was comfortable & air con, we stopped at a few places along the way for a tea & toilet break. At one place I was busting and the toilets were just a hole on the floor and I came back out to see Sonu & Happy laughing and Sonu said to me you didn’t go did you. I said no I couldn’t work out how without falling in!!! Held it the whole way to Delhi! I slept the entire way and the time went so fast ! We arrived at around 6am and got a rickshaw to the hotel I was so excited to be able to have a proper shower – no bucket washing and devastated when the shower was once again only cold water, lucky it’s summer!!
We had a nap then went for lunch and then shopping at Nehru place, visited the Lotus temple (which was closed because it was a Monday) but such a beautiful building
We found a rickshaw driver and he said he would take us to some tourist attractions and we spent 20 minutes bargaining the price with him, it ended up being about $4 for a 3 hour ride!
He took us to a shop called Delhi Haat which had so many nice trinkets, jewellery, sari’s etc … I bought a mini stone jewellery box and a mini elephant (I later bought more elephants in Agra to match) and Pinky bought some bangles for Shehnoor.
We went to India Gate, it was amazing and huge and hundreds of people there and so many people selling ice cream all around the park surrounding it
And also the Parliament House which had a beautiful garden and fountain nearby
I took some photos of the streets of Delhi from the rickshaw, it didn’t feel very safe at all especially at night time dodgy types on every street corner and homeless people everywhere. One day a homeless girl reached into our rickshaw and tried to steal my coke!!! I was so shocked ! The streets were dirty rubbish everywhere. Only The places surrounding tourist attractions all had beautiful parks & gardens. We also had a daily mission to try find edible food from somewhere safe to eat at as none of us knew any good places to eat at there! Happy kept saying to me “I love Amritsar it’s nothing like this!!” I am sure Pinky, Sonu & Happy were homesick the entire time we were there – village minds!!!!
We went to a few markets but didn’t really find much to buy, Pinky said to me these markets are nothing compared to our Shimla Market!!! (Shimla market in Amritsar is where her & I go nearly every second day it’s our favourite and there is nothing you can’t buy there haha) …
Happy’s friend Inder told us to visit Akshardham Temple, and it was not even listed in any of the tourism books I had which I thought was strange but must be a relatively new building. We looked it up on the internet and it looked good so off we went! We were not allowed to take any bags or cameras or shoes inside the complex which was a pitty as it was absolutely AMAZING the entire building and surroundings were beautiful, we spent hours walking around looking at everything, the temple itself had highly detailed stone carvings inside and out with gold sculptures inside it was so amazing and I think possibly better than Taj Mahal!
We had dinner there and then headed home by rickshaw and got stuck in a 1 hour traffic jam because there was a huge parade going through the streets!! Loud music playing a band drums lights and floats, so exciting!
I kept leaning out of the rickshaw trying to take photos, meanwhile I was sat in the middle of Pinky& Sonu and had Happy sat on my lap because there were not enough seats and every time I reached out I hoped that we wouldn’t all fall out!
We got back to the hotel and sat up chatting all night I felt like ice cream so Happy & Sonu went off to find it and came back with 6! Ridiculous we only needed 2!! Pinky and I then ate 3 each hahaha!! The four of us have so much fun together, Pinky has the same sense of humour as me and we are always in fits of laughter and usually making fun of Sonu & Happy and Sonu always says “you two think you are so clever!”. Before we went to Delhi Happy’s mum gave Pinky & I money to buy new summer “night suits” AKA pyjamas – they are actually called night suits here so funny haha! We bought 5 pairs each because they were so cheap and got to Delhi and realised we had both brought with us matching night suits!!! Hahaha
To get to Agra for the day we decided to get a driver because it seemed easier than buses and trains again and we booked it at our hotel, he picked us up at 7am and was a bit of an odd grumpy man and his car had no stereo, I asked him to turn on the music and he started singing and it wasn’t good!! It was supposed to only take a few hours to get to Agra from Delhi but took 6 hours in the bad traffic, we stopped on the way for lunch and to drink tea and also had a monkey at our window at one stage!!
A man came to our window while we were stopped for petrol selling elephants on a long string with bells I loved it and pinky started bargaining away and got the price down from 350 rupees to 150 then our car started up and he put the elephants thru the window and she said to him last offer 100 and just wound up her window and we took off it was so funny! Happy said to us do you both need to buy something at EVERY SINGLE PLACE!?! ummmmm YES.
It was so hot in the car we all napped most of the way and everyone was telling me off for taking their photos!
When we finally got to Agra he dropped us off outside the Taj Mahal entrance and we had a 10 min walk to get to the actual entrance with people following us the entire way trying to get us to pay to have our pic taken! The entry ticket was 20 rupees each (50c) for Indians and 750 rupees for foreigners (me!) which is about $14 I could not believe the price difference!!!!
We also went to Agra Fort which was next door and then we got a horse & cart ride back so much fun but I was so clumsy climbing on and off the cart and everyone was laughing at me
We went back to the entrance of the Taj and bought some souvenirs from the stalls there, all of them were trying to rip us off because as soon as they see a white person they triple the price! Pinky is a master at bargaining them down and when they tell you the price she just talks to them like they are an idiot and then tells them how much she will pay for it and if they keep saying no she just walks off haha I got a few things and postcards to send home.
Then we went back to our drivers car and he took us to a gift shop nearby that sold everything in stone and I bought a few more mini elephants…
Happy bought some Petha for his mum – it’s a special sweet you can only buy in Agra
On the way back we stopped at a Sikh temple and then also a Hindu temple that had a huge statue on the roof
When we got back to Delhi after the long drive back we had beggers at the windows again everytime we stopped at the lights …
The driver dropped us at the hotel and we checked out and got a rickshaw to the bus station, I said to Sonu today has been non stop transporting – cars rickshaws a horse and now a bus!!!!!!! I was so sick of sitting down !!
When we got to the bus station there were no luxury buses there only the normal daily Indian buses that are as bumpy as all hell and your actually mid air most of the time because it’s such a rough ride and Sonu came back with 4 tickets and said quick it’s leaving in 5 minutes we all jumped on and I was in a foul mood and said to him and happy why couldn’t we wait and find a proper nice bus it’s a long way back !!!! They didn’t know where we would find it there and it was all too hard.
I then spent the first hour of the journey swatting Mosquitos and frowning out the window, it was 11pm by now and the others were all asleep, then Sonu turned around and said OK THATS ENOUGH NOW ! QUIT THIS FACE PUT YOUR SHAWL OVER YOUR HEAD TO GET RID OF THE MOSQUITOS AND GO TO SLEEP! And we all laughed and I did it and slept the entire way even though it was the bumpiest ride ever (same bus we used to go to chandigarh on). When we got to Amritsar we all got off and looked down, I had been wearing thongs and my feet were BLACK just from the dust flying through the bus! Happy said my feet looked like a homeless person!
I was so relieved to be home again and had a bath and back in our own bed after the 9 hour bus ride and 5 hour car ride ! We had my favourite Kulche for breakfast and chai tea (we usually have tea 5-6 times a day here and in Delhi we didn’t have it much at all so I had been craving it for days!!!
Happy’s Daddy came to pick up Pinky & Sonu and little Jap had missed her mum so much!
That’s all for now! X