Romance might not be India’s most famous attribute but when Rickshaw Manager, Lloyd booked a trip to the Golden Triangle it was with the intention to take his partner, Leah to the most romantic spot he knew – the Taj Mahal.
Ready… but unprepared
I had backpacked around India before, but this time I was going with my partner for a different purpose… to propose to her at the Taj Mahal! Ok, it wasn’t actually planned in any way shape or form. I had no ring, I hadn’t prepared and really we were going for ten days regardless… but India can do strange things to a person!
A love affair with India
This was to be my partners first trip to India and the start of her own love affair with the country. We started in Delhi, the gateway to North India and for any first time visitor can make or break a person. The sights (chaotic traffic, cows mixing in with cars), the smells (burning incense and smoking street food vendors) and the sounds (car horns, lots of!). We drank sweet chai tea on the street with locals, ate amazing curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, visited the Old Fort and generally people watched. I honestly think that India is the people watching capital of the world, not least because many people will end up watching you watching them, and that’s strangely alright in India.
From Delhi to Agra
We got the train from Delhi to Agra (book your tickets well in advance) and since my time there they have introduced a new faster train called the Gatimaan Express that takes approximately 2hrs. Apparently it has LCD TVs in the back seats! We hired a private driver to take us around the sights, the main ones for us being the breathtaking Taj Mahal and the amazing complex at Fatehpur Sikri. Having that local knowledge and comfortable transport is key as Agra itself is not exactly an easy place to get around.
An unconventional proposal
Here’s how it went down. I was still toying with the idea of proposing at the Taj. I’d been once before so knew how beautifully hypnotic and romantic it was. I recommend visiting either very early in the morning for sunrise or late afternoon for sunset as both are spectacular. So, in my haste I bought the next best thing to a ring. A wooden heart on a piece of string! I know right! So, with my girlfriend blown away by the marble palace and the romantic story behind why it was built, I went down on one knee clutching my seemingly ridiculous wooden heart. Her first reply was “are you sure you want to marry me?” but this was no moment for quiet reflection!
Celebratory baked goods
Upon returning to our driver with the good news he presented us with a cake. I don’t know where he got it from as there didn’t appear to be many cakes shops nearby, but it certainly was an unexpected, if not slightly odd, bonus.
It was five years later that we finally got married, and we did that in Bali… so stay tuned for the next instalment!
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