May 2-3, 2008: Agra
Clarks Shiraz Rating: Average
This hotel was average compared to the Clark’s Amer. The room had a nice view of the Fort and Taj which I assume was what made it a deluxe room although it seemed pretty standard. Although we anticipated that the Taj Mahal would be the highlight of the trip, overall this was an anticlimactic end to the fourteen day trip. The drive to the Taj and the walk to the actual buildings proved more than a little distracting as there were way too many beggars and hawkers. This of course is no reflection on TCI but could certainly be suggested to the mayor of Agra that given the sheer number of visitors each year, cleanliness of the area surrounding the Taj could be vastly improved.
Guide: Adil Ali Rating: Good
He was knowledgeable about the Taj and the fort and provided the necessary comments about the tour. He did seem a bit rushed at times but did find a locker for some items that we were not allowed to take into the Taj complex. He also bought and offered us bottled water without our requesting it. That was a nice thing to do. In consideration of my father’s health and the intense heat, he chose the cooler garden route to the Taj. He offered to take us to the fort and craft stores but we declined since we had seen several in our 14 day tour. On our way to Delhi, we decided not to do any more sightseeing so the guides that were arranged were informed that their services were not needed.