Hello and welcome to the Cliff notes edition of the Carroll family rush through the "golden triangle" of India. In five days we covered Agra, Bahratpur, Jaipur, and Delhi and managed to stay alive and mobile for a good portion of that time.
Our trip really began in Delhi. [I won't discuss the flight we almost missed getting there.] As we left the airport, a man about five foot not much and holding a “Rachel Carroll” sign, perked up and started moving towards his car. I pointed in his direction and he gave a kind of sardonic smile as if to say, “well, duh.” Over our time with our lovable driver I would come to know that smile very well.
We drove directly from Delhi to Agra, where we met our first enthusiastic guide. That also happens be the point when we figured out our driver's name. Up until that point we were trying to decipher the difference between the name on our vouchers and the one he told us, but when we met AgraDepak, DelhiDipak (the driver) piped up with a helpful, "Dipak and Dipak. Same!” complete with pointing and a big smile.
Agra is a city which completely revolves around the Taj Mahal, thanks to tourists like us, and the great building does not disappoint. As we entered through the main gate I heard a British woman order her friends to keep looking down so that they could see the whole Taj in one stunning piece. I followed her example, starring at my Chapals through the final red stone until Dipak told me to stop and I brought my head up slowly. This is what I saw.
Here's a shot of my mother as I remember her for most of the trip. Our tour guide even commented lightly, "lots of photos," and this was at the Taj of all places.
Here's Dad posing in Fahtepur Sikri, the abandoned city between Agra and Jaipur that Akbar originally wanted to use as a capital city. The idea failed thanks to a lack of water, but it must have been a happy place for him while it lasted. He used to play a giant game similar to backgammon on this board and