WE woke up early to be among the first few to see sunrise over the Taj Mahal. The ticket office was only few meters away from our accommodation but as soon as we came out of the hotel, it started raining heavily. Rickshaw drivers started forcing people to take their services again, but of course, we still refused.
The line to get the ticket was already long when we got to the office. Ticket was so expensive too. 750INRs. Anyway, the fee included free water and shoe covers.
We once again walked to the entrance of Taj Mahal while all the others took all forms of public transport, including horses. We reached the entrance and the multiple queues separating men and women were once again, winding.
After 30-40 minutes of wait, they started to let people in. It was raining heavily therefore dramatic sunrise over the Taj didn’t anymore happen.
We slowly walked and the site of the Taj Mahal was just breathtakingly beautiful.
We then decided to enter the Mausoleum, photo taking was prohibited inside We covered our shoes and patiently moved into the dim entrance. Inside, there were only two tombs. I was expecting for more things to see inside.
We came out then headed to the seat everyone was fighting over for, the seat where Princess Diana sat on in one of her iconic photos at Taj.
There was one Indian woman telling everyone to let her take the photo first because “this is my country” while the Chinese guy said “shut up”.
Anyway, just to follow the trend, my friend and I also forced ourselves into the seat to have an iconic photo with the backdrop of the Taj Mahal as well. Our shots didn’t look as elegant as Princess Diana’s but it was just fun to be able to successfully complete a task despite how superficial and moronic it may look like.
It was still raining when we came out. We decided to have our lunch in a restaurant nearby the Taj. I had chicken Kadai. It was yum. After the meal, they brought me the bill and ta-dah , they over-charged me. I once again made use of my firm voice and disappointed face. They softened, re-computed and correctly charged me. Hay , til the end, I had to be fierce.
It was freezing cold so we decided to take a short break in the hotel before we forced ourselves out to go to the railway station. We would be returning to New Delhi that day and we needed to catch our flight back to Singapore.
Our departure was supposed to be 2pm. We arrived early but when we reached there, the screen indicated that our departure was moved to 3:20pm then 5:30pm. Wow. We were there before 2pm! We were worried that we may not be able to catch our flight.
We talked to a pretty lady and asked for information about other options to go back to Delhi . She was with her father. They both suggested for us to wait for the train. Unconvinced, we walked outside to ask around and there goes all the drivers again, forcing us to take cabs. I was half-hearted about waiting for the train. I had a feeling that we wouldn’t anymore reach on time but it was true that we were not really sure how the road conditions were if we were to take a cab also. We then chose to wait for the train.
While waiting, we had a chance to talk to the pretty lady again. We somehow got to know her better during the waiting time. She and her father’s presence made us feel safe and waiting didn’t become a drag. It became a fun-learning-about-Indian-culture time for us.
The train arrived. Our ticket was in the Non AC sleeper train. We didn’t know where to go. There was no seat number in our tickets. The dad asked us to follow him and that’s what we did. We were able to find a seat. Then the train ride commenced.
The ticket inspector checked our tickets, the father talked to him in Hindi, only to find out that our tickets were not confirmed tickets, we were just waitlisted (we specifically clarified this when we bought the tickets, the person in the booth said the tickets were confirmed seats) The dad told the inspector that we were with them therefore there’s no need for us to do anything. Angels!=D
During the ride, they also fed us with some sandwich and potatoes and helped us bargain with the tuktuk driver when we reached new Delhi. The father and daughter were completely opposite of almost all the people we met during the past few days. They were angels!
We rushed to the airport, but still missed our flight!=( In the end, we had to buy new plane tickets and stay in New Delhi for another day. We stayed in the airport that night and planned just to come out in the morning.