What should I pack for IIIT Gwalior

Series: WorringenPur on the move ...
India - Adventure and Fascination Part III (4th & 5th day)
An experience report by Ralf Mildenberg
Photos to enlarge!

Day 4 - Drive from Jaipur to Fathepur Sikri (approx. 30,000 inhabitants) and Agra

The morning started with a slight hangover. The party the night before had taken us a little away. We left the hotel and followed suit Fathepur Sikrito see the Dargah Mosque. Unfortunately, there are not many pictures from that day, as cameras were not allowed in this area! If you want to enter the area, you have to go through a security gate like at an airport. First, women are separated from men. Then you go through a metal detector and are then checked again by hand by a security person. And don't be afraid ... the security guards like to grab hold of your hands (and with a smile on their face ...)! Lighters, cigarettes, weapons of any kind, cameras, etc. are strictly forbidden!
In order to be able to enter the main building and the area around, one had to take off one's shoes. Of course you have to pay to store the shoes, but it was worth it to me every time! It is actually a shame that you are not allowed to take photos on the premises! In my opinion, this facility is one of the most beautiful that we have seen in India! Beautiful buildings with great attention to detail and handmade!
The mausoleum of Sheikh Salim Chrishti was originally built mainly from red sandstone and only later covered with marble. Often childless women pray here and are blessed in the hope of finally conceiving a child.
From there the journey continued Agra, where we wanted to visit the TajMahal the next day. Here we had one of the most comfortable rooms of our trip. There was even a "wellness shower" with several jets. However, the water quality itself was unchanged!

Day 5 - Drive from Agra (1.6 million inhabitants) to Gwalior

The next morning. The Taj Mahal was on the plan! To get the perfect position of the sun for the best view, you have to be there early! The advantage of arriving so early is that the queues are not that long! By the way, Indians pay only a fraction of the entrance fee for most sights, unlike tourists and even have their own queue.

After a security check with metal detectors and a search, we got into the interior of the site. There were already some tourists standing there, waiting for the moment when the sun should cover the Taj Mahal in golden shine! The sun came and the Taj Mahal seemed to shine brighter due to its marble structure, but from my point of view nothing of the typical shine, as you know it from TV, could be seen.

The Taj Mahal is a 58 meter high and 56 meter wide mausoleum and was built by Mughal Mughal Shah Jahan in memory of his main wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, on a 100 meter x 100 meter marble platform. Over 20,000 craftsmen and over 1,000 elephants were needed to build it. The main component is marble, provided with over 28 different types of precious and semi-precious stones. In front of the mausoleum, an 18 hectare garden was laid out with an elongated water basin in the center

is located.
The interior of the building was rather disappointing. Photos were again forbidden, but there wasn't really anything to photograph either. In the middle of the building there were 2 sarcophagi in a dark, high room. So we preferred to enjoy the beautiful view of the building from the outside.
At the breakfast that followed, I treated myself to a freshly prepared tuna salad, contrary to all the actual rules for tourists in India (cook it, peal it, or forget it!). And what should I say. The salad tasted excellent and absolutely did not harm my gastrointestinal area!

Then we drove to the red Fort Agra. The red fort is a fortress and palace complex and served as a residence for the Mughals in the 16th and 17th centuries. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. From there, if it hadn't been for a film of haze hanging over the city, you would have had a beautiful view of the TajMahal from a distance.
The journey continued in direction Gwalior. On the way

we got into a traffic jam (as is so often the case) and progress was slow. If necessary, the oncoming traffic is avoided. After a short time we realized why this traffic jam was caused! In the middle of the street, between the left and right lanes, a completely overloaded trailer had overturned and had probably been there for a long time. There was nothing to be seen of the tractor! All road users drove around the cart very well, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Nobody got upset (for information: honking the horn is not part of “getting excited” in India, but rather for general information “Be careful, here I come!”). But nobody bothered to clear this traffic obstacle out of the way! Even a traffic policeman a few meters away tried to narrow down the chaos with a few hand movements that nobody seemed to notice anyway, but not to fix it. I wouldn't be surprised if the cart is still there today!
Towards the end of the day we visited a Hindu temple complex from the 11th and 12th centuries. Temples in themselves are very beautiful, but at some point you have a déjà vu. Somehow it's always the same. You have the feeling, you know one, you know everyone!
Already at the entrance a little boy ran after us and asked us in English where we would come from. When we told him that we were from Germany, he immediately pulled a euro out of his pocket and asked to exchange it for rupees. The boy could

assign the corresponding coin based on our origin. And he not only had euros in his pocket, but coins from all over the world! At a reasonable exchange rate, I did him a favor and he changed his euro for an Indian rupee, beaming with joy. In the temple complex I was suddenly surrounded by a group of Indians. Quite afraid that someone might want to sell me something again, I had to realize that the young Indians of about the same age just wanted to take a photo with me. So I was able to take a nice souvenir photo too.
On the way back into the valley we saw monumental figures of Jainism from the 15th century carved into the rock. During the time when the Muslims invaded India, some of the figures' heads and genitals were cut off.

Our hotel was quite amusing. In the middle of the hotel was a huge hole that went from the very bottom to the top. Secured by a grille embedded in the floor. In hot weather, however, this is not so stupid. A pleasant air circulation is thus guaranteed and definitely makes a stay a lot more pleasant! Still, it is strange to walk over a large hole in the ground in a hotel.
When sitting together comfortably in the evening, it was not unusual that the entire staff of the hotel seemed to take turns to keep us company. They just stood next to us, watched what we were doing, but said no sound.

In the next part of our trip: By car from Gwalior to Orchha and further after Kajuraho ... the city of the famous sex temples.

Report and photos: Ralf Mildenberg
Editor. & digit. Processing: Matschkowski