Jaipur to Agra


Entrance to the Amber Fort

Off to visit the Amber Fort Palace we went.  OMG.  Construction began in 1592 on this huge fort and palace.  It is exquisite.

We were supposed to ride up the steep mountainside to Amber Fort on an elephant and Lisa was very excited about it, but Peggi is a fraidy cat and Lisa’s knees weren’t up to it.  So Raj drove us up to the back door, which normally isn’t allowed.  We are so special!

Great Wall of Amber

There is a 12 kilometer wall which surrounds the entire city (think of the Great Wall of China) and inside the palace fort are temples and gardens and beautiful rooms (unfortunately both our camera batteries died during the middle of our visit here).

On the way back, Lisa went to meet a master painter who paints with crushed gemstones and Peggi went to the hotel to rest and start the blog.  When Lisa returned, we ordered room service and worked on the blog well into the night.


It has been our style to walk you thru our day, in order.  Today, we’re going to share our thrills first and then go back for the rest of the day.

Late this afternoon we set out on the last leg of our journey to Agra.  It was raining pretty stongly at that point.  As dusk approached the rain grew heavier.  It got darker and foggy.  While we were on a country road, understand that the “India traffic dance” was the same as we’ve described before, except that traffic was only going in two directions – towards us and away from us.

Peggi's Camera, with Lisa at the helm, accurately captured our internal experience.

The oncoming lights were blinding.  On the other hand, the animals, rickshaws, bicyclists and people in the street, had no lights, making them almost impossible to see.  And still the traffic dance went on.  We were sitting in the back seat, praying to Lakshmi and Ganesha, for a safe arrival.  And begging Raj not to pass in the oncoming traffic lanes.  “We’re in no rush.”  Raj said, “don’t worry.  We’re okay.”  And the rain got stronger.  And there was lightning and thunder.  And the highway narrowed to a single lane in each direction.  And Raj kept moving into the oncoming traffic lane to speed past tuktuks, bicycles, animals, etc.  Lots of honking all around.  Lisa said “if we can’t see them, at least we can hear them.”  Peggi was not reassured!  Oh, and the roadway was flooded in part.

Finally we got to the city area.  Peggi actually felt better, thinking if we were hit and crashed here, we stood a good chance of surviving.  Lisa was still worried that we might hit a pedestrian, cyclist, etc, because we couldn’t see them til we were on top of them.  (Peggi here:  I’m really amazed and proud of myself that I handled this ride so well.  I didn’t jump out of the car, insist that we park and stay where we were or even scream.  Nor did I have a panic attack.  I just withdrew a little and prayed.)

A large section of town was without power (not an uncommon phenomena here) and the roadway was very dark, just like out in the country.  Didn’t seem to slow down the drivers or the traffic dance at all.

The city of Agra is built on a hillside.  We went up and up and up and up.  The traffic was dense and the water was intense.  And yet, we still hadn’t arrived.  Finally, after an hour and a half, we pulled into the Trident Agra.  We were so relieved we flew out of the car.  Peggi was thrilled to find a bathroom after 6 hours on the road and a couple of bottles of water!


Today was another grand adventure: the 5 hour road trip to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal).

Our day began with the arrival of our custom made clothes that we bought late yesterday at fabric store.  We had a fashion show, trying on each outfit.  Amazingly, they all fit perfectly.

We then went down to breakfast, our last great meal at the Jaipur Trident.  Now it was off to Agra with trusty Raj at the wheel.  Getting out of Jaipur was difficult, several roads were closed and the one we took was under construction, but we finally made it out of the last gate and onto the toll road!  Don’t start thinking about the 73.  This toll road is just like the city street traffic we described yesterday.  Lots of trucks carrying vegetables and others carrying bricks, tractors towing heavy loads, many camels pulling carts, all the other things we mentioned before and lots of brahma bulls strolling down the highway.  Also, cars going the wrong way.  And as always, people hanging out in the roadway or crossing.  It’s a dance and Raj is a masterful dancer.  You may be thinking that we have a fixation on the traffic here.  If so, you’d be right!

We stopped for lunch after 3 hours at a little “mall”.  Again, don’t think Westside Pavilion or even strip mall.  It was a square-ish building with a souvenir store, bathrooms and a restaurant.  The food was surprisingly good and amazingly we didn’t buy anything!

Fatapour Sikri

Back on the road, we went thru a section where they make and sell red stone statuary and fountains.  One business after another on both sides of the road, where all the products look exactly the same.  Think of the jewelry district, or the downtown clothing district, only red sandstone carvings instead.  Then back to farmlands.  2 hours later we arrived at  Fatehpur Sikri:  The deserted, red Sandstone City, that the Emperor Akbar the Great built as his capital and palace in the late 16th century It a veritable fairytale city and its “ruins” are in pristine condition … it’s not hard to imagine what the court life must have been like in the days of its grandeur.  Our new guide, Wahid, showed us the harem, the homes of Akbar’s 3 wives (one Muslim, one Hindu and one Catholic).  He was considered very progressive and he saw all religions as one and was very liberal to the people. He told stories of how Akbar liked to play games, particularly Parchesi and Hide and Seek.  He played Parchesi with beautiful harem women instead playing pieces and had a large building built with many passageways for Hide and Seek.

The rain began during our visit to Fatehpur Sikri.  First it was light rain, then it got so heavy that we were soaked before we made it back to the car. You’ve already heard the rest!  Now we will flash forward!

We made our room our new home and ordered room service.  Tomorrow we are going to the Taj Mahal, so we’re off to sleep after writing this!

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