Agra with kids

Agra with kids

Agra with kids

Agra with kids

Continuing our adventures in india.  Jodhpur to Agra is approximately 4 hours by car.  Many people opt to stop at Fatehpur Sikri, but as we were only spending 1 night in Agra, we decidedto push on to get to the hotel for early afternoon.

Our welcome at the Oberoi hotel was as lovely as we had come to expect, and within minutes we were approached by the General Manager and told that we had been upgraded to a suite.  (Once again – thank you Oberoi group!).  Quite frankly the room was spectacular.   The incredible view of the Taj Mahal from our (many) balconies was jaw dropping.

(Apologies, in advance for the view and room spam that follows later).

The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal viewAfter a fabulous late lunch in the hotel, we headed down (easily walking distance…but we were lazily golf carted down of course) to the Taj Mahal with our guide.

In many guide books, Agra the city seems to get a bad rep for grime, crime and having nothing much to offer other than the Taj Mahal.  I can’t really dispute the criticisms levelled at the city, as we didn’t have time to explore the city, but a visit to the Taj definitely compensates.  The Taj is the most famous building in India.

Its also one of the 7 wonders of the world – but its definitely much more than just a notch on your tourist belt.  It truly is spectacular.  The story of the Taj and its history is well documented and well known, so Im not repeating it here.Taj Mahal at sunsetI would seriously recommend getting a personal guide for your visit.  When Mr PSGC and I visited as students (a few *cough* years ago) we didn’t.  I don’t think we got nearly as much out of the visit.  The insight and history lesson we got from our guide (Divesh) was incredible.  He got just the right level of detail to interest us, without losing the kids attention. …..and he knew all the best spots to take photos.

Gateway to Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal framed by doorway

Holding Taj Mahal in your handHe took us to the infamous Diana bench on a marble plinth (which we were not at all bothered about).  Apparently there was a queueing system in place (though it was not at all apparent to us what it was).  Occasionally a rogue couple would try and jump the queue, and we had great entertainment watching the shouting and arguing that ensued.

Princess Diana Bench agraNot quite as serene as when Diana was visiting, but finally it was our turn.Diana Bench in front of Taj Mahal

Divesh pointed out some fabulous architectural “cheats”  – details that we would definitely not have seem – for example: these columns are inlaid with detail to give the optical illusion of having more sides, and spaced to make the columns appear straight as the move upwards.Taj Mahal DetailsHe pointed out so many clever symmetrical or intricate design elements.  Every single one of us enjoyed the tour.  Unfortunately the water fountains were being cleaned when we were visiting.  Usually these are filled, and create a magnificent reflection.Taj Mahal gardensThe colour of the Taj Mahal marble is determined by the light – we stayed until sunset, and watched the colour change from a crisp white to this warm yellowy tone.  The monument opens for sunrise and closes at sunset, so the crowds were practically gone by the time the sun set.  Never one to not take advantage of an open space, Abbi used the area for her gymnastics!

amazing Taj Mahal picturesThe place is also teeming with monkeys – despite looking cute, give them a wide berth, as they are vicious if you get too close.  We witnessed one Indian boy getting a nasty bite, when he tried to play with them.   Be warned, the Taj is closed on fridays for prayer. Weekends are very busy, so best avoided if your itinerary permits.

Monkeys at the Taj Mahal

Keen to get to Delhi, we (well Abbi and Mr PSGC) had a swim in the fabulous pool before an enormous breakfast, packing our bags and heading to Delhi.

This has been our shortest stay in the trip so far. – We deliberated for a long time about staying in this hotel, as it is a very expensive. That said, (probably because of our upgrade) it felt worth every penny.

The Oberoi Agra

The room was large enough for the kids to play hide and seek.  This is the master bedroom (though maybe their hide and seek skills need work!).

The Oberoi Agra

This is the kids bedroom – Jamie enjoying the complementary cookies they sent up……

The Oberoi Agra

IMG_4290 copyLiving room and dining room…….The Oberoi Agra

All very nice, but what made the room really fabulous other than the view, was the amazing bathroom.  Its a bit bling for my taste, but this shower is bigger than some flats I’ve stayed in.

hexagonal shower

oberoi bathroomAnd the view from the bath……also known as the rubber ducks view………agra viewThe private balcony on the top floor…..taj Mahal view from my roomThe pool area…..The Oberoi AgraThe balcony and its view….IMG_4114 copy

The photo above (which was taken inside the sitting room to get the balcony chairs in shot) make the Taj appear quite far away.  Actually this was more like the real view….with a handy (and loud) pigeon in shot for scale.Oberoi Agra viewAnd a zoomed in shot…
Taj Mahal pictures
IMG_2973 copy
IMG_4129 copyAnd so were off to our final destinations – Delhi.  You can read about the rest of our itinerary here.

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