From India to Bhutan
The last stop on our Indian lag of the journey is Agra. In addition to the amazing Taj Mahal (Fun fact: all of us, Finn, Alaska, Chris and Esther, were at Taj Mahal this year- just not together) we visited the red fort in Agra. Easy to see why it’s called the red fort… red limestone everywhere. Beautifully carved and hundreds of years old. Not only was it a fort for defense purposes, also it served as justice hall, palace and hare-em to the mogul Akbar. From here you can see the Taj about 2 km away. Of course everywhere we went, we seem to be the attraction to school children. It makes you feel as if they are the tourists and you are the attraction ;o) Signing autographs and posing for pictures at each site we visited.
Travel wise we are being chaperoned around with a personal guide everywhere. Weird situation as we are so used to be independent travelers. Now we are even personally greeted at the airport at arrival and departure! Each driver hand paints their own version of pick-up sign. Then we are finally on our way to Bhutan, luckily that’s not Chris hanging onto the Mini Bus Taxi… we had a noisy Jeep and we did not have to run across the border either. At the Foreigners checkpoint we got all our exit formalities done when leaving India.
Wondering what all those bikes were for, we found out that there are many Indian migrant workers that pass into Bhutan each day to work there. Unfortunately they are not allowed to take their bike across… so you see hundreds of bikes – one looking like the other- chained along the road leading up to the border gate.
The Eastern Gate to Bhutan is one of only three land entrances to this little Kingdom. All 3 being in India, none to China/Tibet due to strained relations (after all China annexed Tibet) and high mountains. Through this gate we went and finally we arrived at the land of the Dragon people!