I am pretty sure that most of you would list water, hat, sun cream and sun glasses as travel essentials in India, but I argue that the most important item is something less obvious. It is ear plugs!!
We left our Hotel Godwin in Delhi last Friday morning at 11 o’clock. Our first stop was Mehrauli (see Eight cities of Delhi) where we stopped for 1.5 hours. After the visit we returned to the old Delhi-Agra road (see Road from Delhi to Agra), which I now highly regret. The reason why we didn’t take the new road was that I wanted to show Mathura to my parents but unfortunately by the time we reached this famous Hindu site (Krishna’s birthplace) it was so dark and late that we observed the complex only from outside. So, total waste of time!The journey was worse than I remembered (I took this same road in 2008). It was noisy, hot and dusty. By the time we reached our hotel in Agra (just before 9 o’oclock in the evening!!) I was ready to go and buy an hearing aid. My ears were blocked and now, after three days, I still don’t hear well.
This journey put me in a very bad mood and it worsened when we realized that our hotel (Amar Yatri Niwas), booked by a travel & car agency, was appalling. To make things worse, we had the most disappointing dinner ever, which to me is the worst! Had I had a decent meal, I would have been just fine, but no, we were eating a lamb curry that contained liver and who knows what else… What a pity! This said, yesterday we drove from Agra to the Ranthambore National Park and even if it was close to 40C, it was better in some aspects. Roads in Rajasthan (the state where we are now) are generally good, so we were a bit more relaxed. There were some overloaded trucks and occasionally we saw camels crossing the road. All this was much better than motorcycles, tuk tuks, private cars, tourist vans, trucks, buses, etc. all combined!
PS Do not think that ear plugs are only for road trips. In most cases, unless you are paying more money and staying at resorts, usually located a bit outside city centers, your hotel will be noisy too. I have slept every single night with ear plugs…