It was all decided at the spur of a moment. A thought that felt so very much executable. Till early October, there was not even a thought of availing vacation leaves, let alone going on a trip/tour. And then one fine hot friday afternoon, when I walked back to my cubicle from my umpteenth coffee break, three excited colleagues called me to their cubicle. They just said “We are thinking of planning a North India tour” and suddenly I became the fourth excited one. The fifth one, working at Infy wasn’t even aware as yet. Moreover, we were all excited about how cold each place would be. Within the next 2 hours we had built a skeleton plan regarding our final destination, the dates of travel and our total budget. We decided to cover New Delhi and around from the 19th to the 29th December which meant that we would need to apply for 6 days of vacation. By EoD, we had made up our mind.
Firstly we booked the ticket for 5 of us – Chennai to Agra and return ticket from Delhi to Chennai. And then in the next 2-3 days we decided on the other places based on 2 things: One, the journey from one place to another had to be completed during the nights and two, based on the availability of 3AC train tickets. Our final booked itenary which was ready by the third weekend of October looked like this: Chennai to Agra to Jaipur to Haridwar-Rishikesh to Amritsar to New Delhi and back to Chennai.
After booking, we informed the 5th one to plan his leave!! 😛
Three of us being from the same team was the next big problem in hand, when it came to getting our vacation leave approved. So we decided to take the onsite-offshore approach. 😉
We talked to our onsite manager first, two whole months in advance about us taking leave in December. We were thrilled when he readily approved. And then we approached our offshore manager who wondered if we were asking permission or informing her about it. 😛 Inspite of a few funny confusions (she first rejected, as she thought we would tour in November), we got what we needed, an approval. Yay!! 🙂
Later we checked out for setting up our accomodation and the intra-city travel plans. Well below are the photos, which might take about 3-4 posts…will try to cover them up all soon!! 🙂
Left Chennai: 19th Dec’09 Morning 6:00 am: On time.
Train: Garib Rath – an economical Rajdhani…though we have to pay for food and pillow/blanket (25 bucks).
Reached Agra: 20th Dec’09 Morning 9:30 am: Late by 90 mins.
Weather: Cool…approximately in the 10-15 degree range
Dumping our luggage in a hotel room, we got ready real quick to head towards one of World’s 7 Wonders – The Taj Mahal.
This above pic is the west side entrance to Mumtaz’s final resting place. Majestic and marvellous.
Tried a lot of trick pics…this was one of them which came out decent, I hope.
Walking through the gardens, we headed to the Taj.
It looks so very beautiful from the close up, with creativity and art going hand in hand on every minute piece of the monument. The above pic is the entrance of the memorial…photography inside wasn’t allowed.
Verses in Arabic are encrypted all over the monument. Some say those are verses from the holy Quran, but am not very sure about that fact.
Each of the pillar of the Taj is symmetric as well as identical to the core. Architecturally a marvel.
Post lunch, we headed towards the Agra Fort…Its so huge that we couldn’t cover it neatly from 3-4 angles that we tried to. The above pic is of its external architecture.
The insides of the Agra fort….huge corridors and a well maintained large garden.
The fort is pretty close to the Taj Mahal…inspite of the mist/fog, we captured the Taj from the fort. 😀
Monkey troubles…6-7 monkeys chased me for a minute or so when I tried to imitate/irritate them. So don’t do, what I did!!
Thats was the end of Agra…we had to catch a train in the evening to Jaipur.
That and more in my next post!! 🙂