When one goes to a place that has been photographed as many times as the Taj Mahal...well...it is hard to erase those photographs from your mind and find your own. Seeing the Taj emerge through the gate(the very first image) is a breathtaking experience though...and it shocked me. That I would be so moved after having seen so many images of this 'wonder of the world'. But, India is a world of it's own and it is a never-ending sensory onslaught. Seeing the Taj is like taking a calm, peaceful breath in a world when there isn't many of those to be had. I drove to Agra...or, I should say, I hired a driver. It was about a 200 km trip from my hotel and it took 4 hours to get there and 5 and a half to get back. I saw camels pulling carts, horses, monkeys, cows(of course), donkeys....pedestrians--sometimes carrying large bundles on their heads...sometimes running between rickshaws. Cyclists. Buses. Big tucks that were highly decorated with 'blow horn' on their bumper...horn blowing is the means of communicating between vehicles and they actually have quite a complex system of getting their point across. It was a two lane highway the whole way, but there were often times four vehicles across. For this girl who doesn't do well with too much sensory overload, it was mentally exhausting. I was happy to be home eating my favourite Paneer and Naan bread at the end of the day.
So, here are some of my images from the Taj :) I had a 'Taj boyfriend'...a little Indian man who so admired me he literally followed me around taking my picture and watching me. This is quite common here, but it was a tad bit annoying as I was trying to well...'work'...for as much as what I do is 'work'. The last few pictures are from the Fort in Agra.
Just a wee giggle for you all--I rented an audio tour(of which I listened to 4 stops out of 16...Bob is now shaking his head at me but that is TOTALLY how I roll) and whenever the fellow who was speaking said 'Mughal' it sounded like 'Muggle' and I could not stop thinking about Harry Potter and if J.K. Rowling had heard the audio tour and got the term from it. I couldn't stop giggling :)