Other than the undeniable beauty of the Taj Mahal, Agra was the least interesting stop on our tour – apart from the Taj itself, the rest of the city isn’t much to look at, and although the Red Fort had some attractive elements too, it’s the only place we visited which I wouldn’t bother to go back to.

All that notwithstanding, sunrise at the Taj Mahal was absolutely worth the trip!

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After a couple of wonderfully hectic (or should that be hectically wonderful?!) days in Kathmandu, we flew back to India. Next on the itinerary: Varanasi, or Banaras as it is called by most of the Indians we spoke to.

In describing my experience of Varanasi to people, the word I keep coming back to is “magical”. There was just something about being in a place which is so ancient and so meaningful to so many people, even despite the lunatic traffic and incessant noise.

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When we were planning the itinerary for the trip, our travel agent initially came back with a schedule which looked good, but contained quite a few instances of “half day to explore on your own”. Now, I’m all in favour of self-motivated explorations, but it seemed like there was space to condense things somewhat and insert an additional destination. Various Indian options were discussed but the prospect of adding another country won the day, so Kathmandu was duly selected

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