We were very fortunate when we arrived on the train to Agra to be met by a cousin of a close family friends. I expected the hassle of having to arrange a taxi or scooter rickshaw to our accommodation. But there was the smiling, polite person of Uncle Naveen there on the train platform. He was such a wonderful host for us in Agra. The first day, his wife made us all one of the very best meals I have ever had...Marsha agreed. We ate far too much. Oh yes, Uncle Naveen also lives in a house that is over 500 years old. Since 1857, his family has lived in that house (they bought in an auction from the British colonialiasts) High ceilings and very large rooms define the part of the house built in the British period. The downstairs of the house, much older, looks like a mini Taj Mahal. Incredible gold gilded and brightly painted ceilings, marble columns in the Mughal style.
A couple of days after our visit with Uncle and his family at their house, Uncle took us for a little shopping and tour of Agra. He was a huge help in buying Marble curios, getting us half price off the sticker price on the items. He bougt us ice cream and Indian style lemonade (Nimboo Pani), refusing to even entertain the notion that we pay for any of it. He helped us by postcards and a book (again, at a large discount).
Uncle Naveen is in the custom stonework and marble work business. He has worked on some of the most upscale hotels in India, including likely the very best hotel in Agra, the Oberoi Amar Villas. He showed us some of the work he did at this hotel. Huge stone torches that light up the hotel driveway at night, two massive ornate stone elephants that frame the entrance, and intricate stonework around the serene network of pools. His main business is export.
An incredibly hospitable, competent man!