29 November 2011

The Taj Trip–Part II

After our train arrived in Agra, we were immediately assaulted (slight exaggeration) by a guy offering a taxi for the day.  We glanced at our party of eight, half of them under the age of five, and decided that a car and driver for the day might be a fabulous idea.

We followed him through a maze of cars and taxis.  Then we did some price checking and decided we were not really overpaying. We hired him, packed ourselves in and took off. There was much debate and head bobbling about what our first stop should be. We soon decided and continued on our (sloooooow) way.

IMG_0784

We were dropped off at the entrance and walked past this row of rickshaws,

IMG_0785

and past this string of camels,

IMG_0828

through a throng of people,

IMG_0786

into this tiny gauntlet of a line and then finally through the security.  They LOVE their security here in India. And that might be the understatement of the year.

IMG_0788

This was the first fabulous building we set eyes on. As we passed through the arch, we got our first glimpse (look closely)…

IMG_0791

Pardon me. Whose life am I living?

IMG_0797

I took this photo with my very own camera. Wait, really?

I was there.

Wow.

IMG_1081IMG_1083

We ambled closer to the Taj amongst the crowds while I listened to an audio guide tell me the story of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Emperor designed this mausoleum in honor of his favorite wife after she died at age 38 giving birth to their 14th (14th?) child. They say he went into a year of isolated grieving for one year after her death and re-emerged with grey hair and a bent back.

Mumtaz Mahal was known not only for her deeply passionate and dedicated marriage with the Emperor, but also for her kindness and generosity towards the poor during her life. She was famous for her beauty, grace and compassion and even long after her death, these grounds were used to bring aid to the poor and destitute.

 IMG_0815

We drew closer and the building got bigger

IMG_0817

and bigger.

IMG_0818

We had to remove the kiddos shoes and cover ours with these little booties before we could go up the steps.

IMG_0819

Once up, we saw this guest house. Think they have any vacancies?

IMG_0821

Mike and Sweet N were dragging behind a bit.

IMG_0823

Know why?  Because once this girlie’s shoes were off she became obsessed with picking fuzz off the bottom of her socks.  She wanted to do this constantly. Silly girl.

IMG_0824

We stepped inside, but pictures were forbidden. We gazed up into the dome and into the center of the hall where the bodies of both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz are laid, facing west, toward Mecca.

IMG_0826

I never thought I’d see the Taj Mahal. But I’m oh-so-glad I did. It’s breathtaking. This entire post is a futile attempt, really, to express the story and magnificence of this tomb. My amateur photos and simple words cannot do justice…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...