The tour of the Taj and the Agra fort were absolutely great. Mohsin, my guide, did a fantastic job and gave me a personal detailed tour of them both. He was fantastic! Attentive, personable, patient, and knowledgable. Lunch was absolutely great. A true treat. I was alone for this trip as I had stopped over after a business trip. Mohsin is clearly something of an amature photographer. He managed to show me some excellent spots for great photos. Every so often he would just say "may I take your phone?" and when he handed it back, there would be some fantastic image I never would have thought to capture. It was also nice to have someone else to take a photo of me, so it wasn't all just selfies. He did a really great job.
However, there was one challenge for me. As an American, I was simply not prepared for the high-pressure sales I got at both of the handicraft shops. They both start with a brief demo of a long-lost art related to the Taj Mahal. One is the grinding of gems and marble to create absolutely beautiful inlays. The other is the art of decorating material with beads of gold and silver. Exquisite detail in each. Now, don't get me wrong, they were very friendly, but it was the kind of sales pitch you only get at used car dealers in the states. They went to great lengths to show me all the great wares they had. They served me coffee, called me "my brother" and assured me I was making an investment. "money comes and goes, but this will last a lifetime." I recall the pitch because somehow they all used the same lines. Again, nobody twisted my arms to buy, but they simply would not take "no" for an answer. It wouldn't be such an issue if their goods weren't so VERY expensive. They're hand-crafted, I understand that they're high quality, but I really couldn't afford more souvenirs. If you have trouble with high-pressure sales pitches, be warned, it will be very difficult to walk out without purchasing SOMETHING. I managed to make it out with only a $60 inlaid elephant. It was the cheapest one they had. If I went again, I'd ask to skip the handicraft demos and stick to the sight-seeing.