Agra Journals

Mecca for Idiots

A February 2006 trip to Agra by chaseshishorse

Hotel Kamal Photo, Agra, India More Photos
Quote: Welcome to Agra, land of mystery, enchantment, and people who ask to take your picture and will probably Photoshop it and post you "naked" on the Internet.

Mecca for Idiots

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Overview

yamuna Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Agra's a bit of a puzzle. On the one hand, it's a pit. The city is dirty (even by India standards), polluted, loud, and utterly crammed with both dorky tourists and the touts, guides, rickshaw drivers, and souvenir shops that cater to and/or harass them.On the other hand, it has one of the singular most beautiful creations on earth, the Taj Mahal, surrounded by a grungy but fascinating neighborhood stuffed to the gills with people, monkeys, dogs, cows, rooftop restaurants, rickshaws, and shops. It has the diverting Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the tranquil Sikandra, and the almost-carbon-copy Baby Taj. It's got hustle, and oh, does it have bustle.It's sort of a microcosm of India, when yo...Read More

Hotel Kamal

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Hotel

Hotel Kamal Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Super cheap and—its main selling point—rooftop view of the Taj. It's in a crappy (but interesting) neighborhood, and I wouldn't recommend venturing out at night if you're alone or traveling without any men (as sucky as it is, you'll get hassled way more without any men with you), but the rooftop view is phenomenal. The South Gate of the Taj Mahal is maybe a quarter of a mile, tops, from the hotel. Rates are super low—deluxe rooms are 450 Rupees, about $9, and go down from there. It's really nothing fancy, a standard bed (queen or two twins pushed together for a double, not sure about the single), couch, bathroom, and a fan. It's reasonably clean, but by no means plush. The rooms seemed safe, we did...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 19, 2006

Hotel Kamal
By the south gate of the Taj Mahal, Taj Ganj District
Agra, India
0091-562-2330126

Taj Mahal

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Attraction

Taj Mahal Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Oh, the Taj. Really, the whole trip is worth it just for the Taj. But first, a history lesson. The Taj Mahal, meaning "Crown Palace," was constructed in the 17th century by Shah Jehan, one of the great Mughal Emperors of India, as a tomb for his beloved wife whose death in childbirth was said to have left him heartbroken (and also completely grey-haired). It is constructed of white marble with jeweled inlays, an Italian technique known as Pietra Dura.The complex is tourist central, more so than anyplace in India. They're all there: Betty and Roy from Des Moines with the camcorder. Squadrons of Japanese tourists with an average of five cameras apiece, all hanging from their necks. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2006

Taj Mahal

Agra, India