Mike’s Birthday! We headed out of Jaipur on this cool and foggy morning. We went up a little winding road just outside of the town to the Monkey temple.
It was a bit run down in some places, and a few people trying to get you to go into the “best” temple of the place – of course for a fee once you were there. All in all, though, it was an amazing place. The old buildings and fog added to the ambiance.
We climbed up stairs to the place where the hermit – Milk Baba – lived.
There were many monkeys (hence the name?) ...
...and peacocks in the surrounding areas.
We then climbed up an even longer stairway into the mountains.
There, water ran down, and pooled. It flowed out of the statue of a cow, and people were bathing in the cold water.
Up at the top was a temple complex with a pool of water and many monkeys. One monkey jumped on a lady who started screeching and yelling in German, and trying to shake the monkey off her arm. It held on very well – it wanted the bright orange marigold garland she wore. She finally pulled off the necklace and threw it – the monkey jumped after it, and took it and started eating it. Other monkeys came up to it, trying to share the treat, but it screeched at them and bared its teeth, and shoved them away.
People were taking pictures of the bathers – which is not really the polite thing to do – even though I took some with my telephoto lens, too. I felt bad afterwards, and didn’t take any more.
We drove for a while and stopped for lunch.
The ladies were funny – they ate quickly, then asked the man for their bill – so they could go shop in the gift shop. It was a really big store – I wasn’t even going to go inside, but I did anyway. I ended up buying a calendar – it was 250 rupees, which I thought was a good deal, and it has a bunch of beautiful pictures of Hindu deities.
We stopped at this crazy colorful temple along the road on the way to Agra.
We got closer to Agra, and stopped for a tour of the abandoned city of Fatephur Sikri.
We had a really excellent guide named Omar, who had been giving the tour for 30 years. He had plenty of facts about the city, and was also quite good at recommending spots for “nice photos”.
He also took photos of us there, too, and had a nice personality. We ended up walking around a bit longer than we anticipated – but it was worth it!
We took a took-took back to the cars because we were running late and didn’t want to wait for the bus. We had quite an adventure driving into Agra in the dark – same as in the daytime, but the cows and people riding bicycles without any lights or reflective material just seem to come out of nowhere. Plus, lots of the vehicles drive without lights.
We got to the hotel – it is the most fancy looking of all the hotels we have stayed at so far – really modern looking. It has lots of blue lights all over. Agra buildings and cars and took-tooks, and statues all seem to have lights all over – LEDs, it looks like.
We got settled in our room, and Mike’s stomach was bugging him a bit, so we weren’t sure what we were going to do – then Sandy and Mary knocked on our door and told us to go on over to their room… They had a cake waiting for Mike there! With fireworks they lit, so it made the room all smokey. The guys had bought little party hats, and a ‘happy birthday’ banner/letters, and flowers, too, and Mary and Sandy gave Mike an elephant bead strand thing for hanging.
Then we went out to dinner at “Quality Restaurant”.
Agra seems to have more issues with the electricity than any other place we have stayed so far. I was beginning to doubt the use of the flashlights we had brought – now I’m glad we have them. The power was out 2 or 3 times as we checked in and had cake, then once or twice at the restaurant. It kicks back in quickly, due to the generator, but still, it is kind of a shock to be left in the dark in the hallway or on the stairs.