Since our trip lasted more than a week, we found ourselves with a free weekend for some site seeing and shopping. I felt like as long as I was in India, I should at least take time to visit the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We were staying close to Delhi, the capital of India. The Taj Mahal is located in Agra which is about a three hour drive from Delhi.
We were told that there was a highway between the two cities that had been completed about five years ago. We left in two vans, with our drivers and a couple of Indian nationals that accompanied us on the trip. In most cities that we visited we had no problem communicating in English because they were generally located in larger cities, but because this trip was going to and through lesser developed areas we thought that having someone with local language skills would be a good idea.
Getting back to the highway… the highway proved to be very similar to what I was used to, except for one thing. When it was described as a highway between the two cities I didn’t realize that the description was literal…really a road between the two cities, no other off-ramps, on-ramps or cross streets. There was only one major “Comfort Stop” along the way, basically a rest stop with a small restaurant. Otherwise, we saw nothing but miles and miles of beautiful countryside with small family farms.
Arriving in Agra, it was clear that we were in a much less developed area. We saw many small shops, vendors with carts of produce and cows in the streets. More than once we had to wait for livestock to clear the street to continue.