Drive to Agra is honey smooth, but the traffic there is a different story altogether.
After the 600-plus kilometres we have driven from Jaisalmer to Jaipur, having to drive ‘just’ 200km to Agra seems a cinch. So we take it easy, and even visit the Hawa Mahal for a few quick photographs on our way out of the city. It’s almost 10am before we hit NH11. It’s a good four-laner for the most part, and although it’s peppered with small towns and villages on either side, they are neatly demarcated, and the road never narrows for them. Still, there is ample facility for the locals to cross, with small speedbumps to curb your highway enthusiasm. There are also lots of stoneworks shops along this route, particularly near the SH25 turnoff, and although we want to stop and pick up a few of the exquisite pieces, the Audis are already packed to the brim with luggage. We certainly have the time. Instead, we stop for lunch at a pleasant looking restaurant by the side of the road. Sadly, the lunch itself is anything but. I could bet both the cars have less oil coursing through their engines than I do on my plate. We immediately regret the decision.
Still, with an uneasy feeling in our gut, we push on, and sail down the highway and into Agra by early evening. Once we are checked into our hotel, since the light is just right, we figure it’s a good idea to see if we can get to the Agra fort for a few choice photographs. This is the second decision we regret almost immediately. Traffic, boisterous drivers and a few diversions mean that, within minutes, two Audis are drawing more attention than the Taj Mahal. A few agonisingly tricky manoeuvres later, we high-tail it back to the hotel, and promise ourselves we will beat the traffic the next morning.