February 19 – Many of the group decided to go to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. Those that went thought it magical indeed. We had a full-day tour/bus ride to travel the 250 kilometers from Agra to Jaipur. After leaving the hotel at about 9:30AM we drove for about an hour to visit Fatehpur Sikri (another terrific palace constructed centuries ago.) We then spent another hour on the bus and stopped for a lovely lunch at The Bagh. The restaurant is in the middle of nowhere but served excellent food.
The next part of our ride was about 3 ½ hours with a rest stop in the middle. It’s amazing to see camels, cows, water buffalo and goats running loose everywhere along the road, on the road and all places in between. We arrived at the the Oberoi Rajvilas at 6PM and were escorted to our rooms. This hotel on 32 acres has just 71 rooms. It is very spread out and totally tranquil. There are about 100 peacocks living on the property and every now and then you can hear them seem to screech loudly. It is very disconcerting if you don’t know what it is.
We had a quiet dinner (10 of us) outside at the courtyard. It was lit by wire baskets of burning wood with sparks shooting out occasionally. It is a romantic spot and the food was also good. We particularly enjoyed the bread called vegetable kulcha. The walks have soft lights along the walkways and this adds to the calm and the magic of the place. I have uploaded a picture of the entryway to our hotel.