We left New Delhi and headed to Agra. Rather than travel by train or bus we hired a car and driver. I found the company through an article in the NY Times. It may seem posh, but when all was said and done the cost wasn’t so bad. Plus we had the same driver the whole time so you have to be prepared to spend A LOT of time together because driving between cities in Rajasthan is not a 1 hour thing. It’s more like a 3 or 4 thing on a highway with big trucks that switch lanes at the last moment, where you realize that if you were in a car wreck you’d probably die before the ambulance ever got to you. Did you buy travel insurance? Sure but it won’t help when you’ve bled out on the side of the road.
Our driver was Soref Singh. He was a good driver. Ganesh was seated on the dashboard and he had the requisite decorations on the front bumper. The trucks in Rajasthan were brightly colored with all kinds of fabric or fiber garlands hanging from the front grills. We never got a clear explanation as to why.
We created our own itinerary for the trip which we stuck to. As we drove along bf told Soref that if there was a special temple or historical site that he knew of, to please let us know and may be we’d check it out. Our visit to the Hare Krishna temple on the way to Agra was one of those stops. Generally Soref would describe the special site as a temple or waterfall and usually we’d agree to stop. Towards the end of the trip when we had seen more than our share of temples and forts we passed on the side stops.
We didn’t realize it was a Hare Krishna temple until we went inside and heard the chanting. And of course the lone Italian Hare Krishna follower found bf and they had a conversation. He’s in one of the pictures. The wax statues of the Hare Krishna saints creeped me out a little but it was still an interesting experience.
We tried to go to another temple in a nearby town but it was closed. Walking through the streets to the temple with everyone staring was a slightly uncomfortable but I remembered that I was the outsider so naturally they were going to stare. We did that a few more times in non-touristy areas but I got the hang of it. People will stare and don’t do anything stupid.