India – Delhi/Shimla/Agra

September 25, 2008

Our first 3 stops in India are Delhi, then up towards the Himalaya’s (Shimla) and the legendary Taj in Agra.

Delhi is loud, dirty and we are in a small (but relatively well run hotel in Karol Bagh area). Outside the hotel door it’s mayhem thou and we need a few days to adjust to the noise, smells and sticky air.
Visited the Red Ford, Connaught Place and Martin had a suit tailor made at Richmond’s Tailors on Connaught Place. Been to a fair few tombs as well and the Delhi version of the gateway to India.

After 3 days in Delhi we’re om our day long journey to Shimla. First an ealry morning train to Kalka, a very quick interchange and on the Shimla Express for 6 hours winding our way up into the mountains. Shimla is at 2400m and surprisingly cold and foggy in the evening. the town center build on a ridge has an astonishing 360degree view over the Himlaya’s in the far north and the lowlands to the south.
On our second day we meet Ajanta yoga guru. He takes us on a day trip around Shimla and up the mountain to the temple if Diva Tara. There we get blessed by the monk and offered a free meal (which was very much welcomed after 5 hrs trecking) of vegetraian daal, rice, and other vegetables. Everyone sits on the floor in long rows and eats from holy leaves as plates. It feels like a very social event and our guide explains that everyone who makes the journey up to the temple gets invited to the feast – rich or poor.

After a quick return to Delhi, which we didn’t enjoy at all after the cleansing fresh air on the mountains, we arrive in Agra. It is hot here and moist and full of tourists. But the breath taking view of the Taj even from the nearby rooftop terraces if stunning and well worth the heat.