It was p*ssing it down all the way from Agra to Fatephur Sikri on my 7am bus ride. 80 minutes for RP22 (about 27 pence) on a rickety old bus with open windows and a leaking roof resulted in my backpack getting a bit of a soaking. Once I’d stored my bag at a hostel I walked up a hill to see another mosque called Jama Masjid. I couldn’t be bothered to go inside though as I was getting annoyed with all the touts trying to offer me guided tours or whatever and I felt I couldn’t trust anyone.
Instead I walked down the major lane just to generally observe the way of life but as I got to the bottom of this hill the heavens opened up and it absolutely pelted it down flooding the place within seconds and I had to wade through a river of piss, sh*t, litter and mud with a huge group of kids in tow of the only white boy in the village at that moment!
I thought about giving up and moving on altogether when I got back to the hostel but luckily I didn’t and the rain cleared and I went sightseeing again. Not even sure of the name but the palace buildings were impressive due to a lack of visitors and me having no knowledge or expectation of the place. I met two Scottish girls and walked on over to Jama Masjid where this time i had a quick look around the place while trying to fight off unwanted guides.
After lunch on the hotel rooftop with a load of other travellers I went to find Hiran Minar – a 21 metre tower featuring many stone representations of elephant tusks – amid old ruins of a nice looking place away from crowds. Mid-afternoon I had to take a horse-drawn cart to the bus stand but not alone as about 10 others crammed on to it. I was dropped off roadside in an area which was supposed to be the bus stand but was just the usual chaos.
Eventually after a nervous hours wait I hopped on a packed mini-bus where I had to stand up with my backpack at my feet and my ruck-sac on my front as the bus jinked its way through the traffic beeping its horn constantly in true Indian fashion. About an hour down the road I finally got a seat at the back by the window which was necessary for me as there was no air-conditioning. Six of us were squeezed into the five spaces and the first few hours (six in total) were fine but the last couple really killed my backside! Still, I chose this cheap option (RP110 or £1.40) and am still very glad that I did as you get to see and experience a lot more travelling this way rather than going by express air-con train or whatever.