While we were in India this past December we took a quick weekend to visit the Taj Mahal. Now, the best way to do that is fly into New Delhi and drive the 3.5 hours to Agra. We spent two nights in New Delhi to visit friends of my mom’s and in between we took the day trip.
Our short time in New Delhi was well spent between shopping and quick sightseeing. Getting into the city in the morning, we met up with my mom’s friends and they took us to the wonderful shopping market of Dilli Haat. To say the least, it’s pretty much a tourist’s dream. There must have been a couple hundred stalls of fabric, pillow cases, purses, sculptures, clothes, scarves, and more. It was pretty amazing. We even had a fantastic lunch of several north Indian curries, biryani, and naan bread.
Personally I hadn’t wanted to do much shopping since I don’t really like “stuff” unless it’s meaningful, but I couldn’t help but pick up a few scarves for myself and of course some trinkets, like small carved elephants, for my colleagues. The prices were not cheap by Indian standards, but once I converted everything into USD and practiced my haggling skills I felt really good about how much (or little) I really paid. At the time, it was about 66 Indian rupees to one dollar, so it was perfect. Plus it was a lot of fun watching all the vendors trying to get our attention to their stalls!
The day after getting back from Agra we took an easy morning in our hotel. Later, we spent the day with another family friend who took us around the city for a quick tour before we went back to her house for a wonderful lunch.
We checked out Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO world heritage site that thankfully wasn’t as crowded as the Taj Mahal was! We didn’t have much time but we took a quick poke around the grounds and inside the tomb area. As with the Taj, the real tombstones are located beneath the fake ones and it was much more beautiful on the outside than the inside.
The beautiful Humayun’s tomb!
Soon after we walked around the India Gate for a few minutes – beware of the crowds and the crazy vendors!
The India GateI’m heavily considering getting my OCI card, for which I should be eligible due to my mother originally being an Indian citizen. That way I can come and go as I please instead of waiting to hear back about a visa! Especially now that I’m an adult I need to make more of a point to visit India, especially after this trip because I didn’t get nearly enough time – plus I need to explore more of New Dehli and Agra!