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Photographer's Note

In Agra, I stayed in Hotel Raj, which, in spite of its lofty name, was a budget hostel at 6 dollars per night, with a room that was hardly big enough to accommodate my bed, and its only claim to fame was a (stained and battered) marble bathtub. Hot water appeared on demand (you would make a request at the reception desk and part with a small rupee note as baksheesh to speed up the process). The availability of electric current, on the other hand, was a bit touch and go, totally beyond my control. It was like living in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or, in other words, perfect.

The Raj was situated a few steps from the South Gate to Taj Mahal. I was pleased to find that the gate was closed and tourists had to use the East or the West gates. It meant a bit of a walk for me to reach the entrance but it also ensured the chances of me stumbling upon tour groups in my street were rather small.

Surprisingly, considering the distance to the gates, just outside the hotel there was plenty of souvenir stalls, where I haggled to get presents for my family back home. There was also a post office, where, while queuing to get stamps, I spotted a mouse on a shelf by the counter.

I was staying in Agra for two nights and I was not in a rush to see the main sights. So on my first morning I went for a walk in search of the roads less travelled and “nothing special” photos. I was thrilled to see that the city was shrouded in mist, the kind of conditions that always make me reach for my camera. These two Cattle Egrets looked as if they were guarding Taj Mahal.

Please take a look at two WS photos also taken during that morning walk. I’m sure some TE members will prefer those to my chosen main upload.

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1553 W: 9 N: 3159] (16476)
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