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Taj Mahal - Agra

Written on: Monday June 8th, 2009

A journal entry from: In the spiced Indian air....

Of course our sole purpose of visiting Agra was to see the Taj Mahal!  But first we saw the Red Fort - there is one in Delhi and one in Agra, and apparently the one in Agra is much nicer.

Agra is a city so used to tourists that they have adapted a number of different scam tactics that you really have to watch out for. Our driver warned us many times not to go with anyone to 'look at their shop', lest we drink drugged tea and end up who knows where with nothing but (maybe) the clothes on our backs.  Before I go any further (for my parents' sake) we made it out of the city fine without incident!!!!

So we first spent a few hours wandering the Red Fort, it was a residence for the King, so there is a labirynth of passageways to wander all with different marbelling, stonework and detailing.  It was really fun until my camera battery died.... 

The next morning we woke early so we could get to the Taj Mahal by 6am, before the heat of the day (43 degrees) and especially before the crowds.  The complex is massive, there are numerous other buildings that surround the Taj as well. The grounds are perfectly manicured and clean.  But would you believe that Indians only pay 50 rupees ($1) to enter and foreigners pay 750 ($20)!!!  Boo...

Anyway, as for my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal, I must admit it was anti-climactic....  It looked smaller than I thought it would be and less surreal.  However, as soon as we started walking towards it, I realized that it was MUCH further away than it initially looked, and therefore MUCH larger!  The way the rising sun reflected off the spotless white marble was gorgeous, and made it appear like the apparition I thought it would as I moved closer and closer.

Up close, he detail of the arabic lettering and flowering each in individual piece of coloured marble was so intricate, I can't even imagine how they would have completed it in any reasonable amount of time.  Every angle of the structure is perfection, and every detail was thought out.  Inside, where you aren't allowed to take photographs, lie the tombs of the emporer Shah Jahan (the builder) and his wife Mumtaz (for whom he built it for).  Interestingly, everything about the Taj Mahal is completely and exactly symmetrical, however the emporer's tomb lies to the left side of Mumtaz' perfectly centred tomb... with nothing to balance it out on the right side.

After spending a few hours wandering the grounds, Jennelle and I both sighed... "and it was all for love"... and went on our merry way.

On to Jaipur, Rajasthan, another 5 hours away, where we will visit the Pink City and spend the night.


From Dad on Jun 9th, 2009

Wow Jen, your pictures are incredible. I'm sure it must have seemed strange to actually be there ... sort of like seeing Everest in person. Miss you girl ... come home soon!