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China & India Study Tour - Day Five - Delhi to Agra

Day Five - Delhi to Agra

We checked out of the oasis that was the Crowne Plaza New Delhi and headed across town to Old Delhi, driving past the Red Fort (not sure why we didn't stop here, where India's freedom from Britain was announced) and through the remnants of the old city wall to arrive at Jama Masjid. The cityscape had changed once passing the old wall, we were thick into a 90% Muslim community, with goats everywhere as there is a festival in a few days requiring many sacrifices. Our guide had unfortunately changed from the day before and we were reluctantly talked into not taking our cameras into the mosque as it would cost us money. After removing our shoes at the stairs (leave the manolos at home ladies) and popping on the required robe, we were walked around the mosque before the next prayer session, and given our second story of the harsh differences between the royalty and the poor for the day). This mosque is the biggest in all of India with impressive towering call to prayer towers and domed roof.
From there we took rickshaw rides in Chandni Chowk, 'Moonlit Square', one of the largest trading centres in India. It was dusty, hot, crowded, noisy.. not an experience for the faint hearted! We visited the spice markets and were treated to an education at a store which attracts many of Australia's top chefs. This area is really like New Delhi, on roids - I definitely recommend breaking yourself into Delhi life gently by starting in New Delhi before a visit to the Old!
A quick visit to a rug manufacturer were we were educated in how fiddly they are to actually make traditionally. Sadly at anywhere between $1500 and. $39,000, the factory is exactly where the rugs stayed!
We ended our time in Delhi with a visit to the home that Gandhi lived for his last 144 days before he was shot. It was a pretty moving experience and I learnt more in this short amount of time about his teachings than in all the 100,000 Instagram memes I've seen over time- highly recommend!
We left Delhi and headed on the freeway, giving my brake foot a rest! Funnily though along the three lane highway there was still the need to beep! The cityscape flattened out to crops and brick chimneys and before long we found ourselves in Agra.
Coincidently we have arrived here in the middle of a weeks festival in which you send all your problems down the river with Ganesh! The streets were lined with many many people congregating around huge brightly coloured Ganesh's on lit up stages with booming music and coloured light bulbs strung along the street. Agra I love you already!

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