An early-ish start to the day, catching the 8am train from Delhi to Agra. Met a French girl on the train so spent some of the 3-hour journey chatting away in French while Jayne read her book. Dismounting the train at Agra was significantly easier than when we had to do it at Chandigarh… No pushing, shouting or bruises!! Got in a TukTuk to the South Gate of the Taj Mahal with the intention of walking to our hotel. However, the driver, by coincidence, parked round the corner from the South Gate – right in front of our hotel! A quick check-in, dump of backpacks and we went back out to a different train station to get our tickets to Jaipur in 3 days time. Walked from the station to visit the Agra Fort. Built in 1565 on the bank of the Yamuna River, it was primarily used as a military structure. However, Shah Jahan (the man who built the Taj) turned it into a palace, and later it became his prison when his son seized power in 1658. It is a maze of buildings which almost forms a city within a city and there were several Mosques inside the fort walls.
Afterwards, we decided to give the rickshaw drivers a miss and walked through the 2km park that runs along the river bank, basically connecting the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal (except for a slightly hair raising road crossing at the beginning!!).
Went back to the hotel and headed up to the roof terrace restaurant to enjoy the view of the sun setting over the Taj. Had dinner and sat in silence watching the fading sunlight change the outside of the memorial.
Aiming to get there before it opens in the morning so we can be one of the first ones in and hopefully see it as the sun rises (and with less tourists!!).