Massively manned up today - out of bed for 3:30am!! We made our way across a sleeping Delhi to the train station to get to Agra. After arriving a few hours later we grabbed a coffee and got out tickets for the Taj Mahal. The Taj is incredible. All the stories and hype are true and real - in fact they probably don't do it justice. It is a must see. We walked around the marble structure in awe of its master-craftsmanship. Lots of dodgy and stereotypical tourist photos were taken! After a quick mali kofta for lunch we caught a cycle richshaw to Agra fort. This was also a blinder of a sight. You walk in over a huge portcullis and through battlements which would otherwise be impenetrable. Great lads' day out. Got a posh AC Chair train back to Delhi, which included a nice meal (not bad for £3 each), and arrived back at 23:30.
Jumped on the metro in the morning to explore Delhi. This is where the drama started - the train was ridiculously packed and someone tried to pickpocket Tom. The cheeky git managed to cut open the bottom of my money belt with a knife or razor - caught the hand but not owner; it was just too busy. Probably for the best too as he obviously had a weapon.
Got off at general secretariat and made our way around all the enormous government buildings. Its now you appreciate the full scale of difference between the rich and the poor. We have seen nice-ish parts of india but nothing this grandiose. Pottered down to the national museum, which wasn't that great, then walked across town to Humayun's tomb. Great walk with some great sights - you definitely see more of a place on foot. The tomb itself was also excellent; an apparent precursor to the Taj Mahal. It was crazy how peaceful and serene the place was considering its smack in the middle of Delhi.
Went to the same restaurant as last night for a cheap but spectacular breakfast. Jumped back on the metro and headed north into old Delhi. We walked a little through town to find what we were looking for; the red fort. It seems very impressive with its colossal gate house and bright red exterior. However, once your in, and conveniently once you have handed over your money, the place is a little, well, boring. Maybe we've seen too many forts. Grabbed a weird indian version of lunch from maccys and made our way through the poverty stricken Muslim quarter to Jama Masjid. It looked awesome from the gate, a kind of super mosque, but not being Muslims we couldn't get in. Headed over to connaught place to see how the trendy youth of india's middle class (the sons and daughters of business tycoons) spend their time (and parents' cash). It turns out it is much in the same way ours do: on expensive clothes and Italian coffee. A very cosmopolitan place to finish India. Hopefully they can manage to bring the rest of the country to this level of prosperity without destroying the land's natural beautyand their people's awesome variety and character. What an enchanting place India has been.
A beautiful dump.
Without sounding like typical airy-fairy gap year rahhs the Indian people both make and break India. On the one hand they enhance every fantastic experience we have had but equally there are some extremely negative traits, ie attitude to litter and server lack of altruism.
Really you should just see it for yourself. Will be great to come see the huge changes that will take place in the future.