We left Delhi by the early morning train on AC Second class, which is a very comfortable (if perhaps a bit chilly) way to travel the 3.5 hours. We didn't have our return journey booked, which lead to a bit of hassle as I'll explain later.
Our Breakfast Nook.
We took breakfast in a cozy rooftop cafe (where I had my first peanut butter toast) before heading off to the Taj Mahal around noon. The Archaeological Survey of India controls most of the cultural heritage sites around the country and they institute a differentiated price for all attractions based on nationality. For example, at the bottom of the heirarchy of culturally considered sites, to get into the Buddist caves at Lonavala, nationals pay 5 rupies. Non-national (aka international tourists) pay 50. As one of the biggest international attractions, the Taj Mahal is almost 7 times what all the other attractions are at an entry price of 750 rupies for non-nationals. Which, granted, is $17 dollars and totally worth it, but it's a bit frustrating being so obviously labeled as a "rich foreign tourist".
I couldn't help but imagine Shah Jahan trapped in this marble palace as his love lay across the river, never to be forged until after his own death.