Friday, May 1, 2009

India, Through My Eyes- Part Second

Ah, the Taj Mahal... It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is made out of white marble, and has semi-precious stone inlaid in its walls. It is a grave for a king and his favorite wife. The facts could go on and on... Yet all I cared about was staring at those huge arches and glittering flowers, made out of those semiprecious stones and think of the people who had walked here, before me.

I have to say I learned a lot of history the day we went because a tour guide was with us, but I wish we didn't have one. It would have been so fun to explore it by myself, with my thoughts.

Shall I start from the beginning?

It was four in the morning, and still pitch black outside. My family and second cousin waited outside for a car we had hired for the day. It was actually cold where I was at that time, in Delhi, India's capital, and I stood there, waiting and shivering. At last the car came, and we all piled inside. That car acted like a clown car. It was really, really, crammed, and we drove five hours to get to Agra.

You may be asking why there were no ways to get there like planes and trains. Well, there are trains, but the Indian trains aren't exactly the best. I went on a train when I was about five or so, so I do not remember a thing. I just know from what I've seen on TV or read that they are crowded and not too clean.

It was surprising to me, but we all survived the trip alive. It felt so good to finally get out of the crowded car and stretch my legs. And the prospect of viewing the Taj Mahal awaited!

We were met by a guide who took us to the Taj. We had to walk quite a bit, and that stroll was hard with a toddler who had already gone through a very long car ride. It would be a hard day with Lil' Sis with us. She was still getting attached and bonded with the rest of her family, so she wanted to say in my mom's arms and go nowhere else, probably in fear of losing her.

We bought tickets (they are higher for foreigners, lower for Indians, and even lower for people who can speak Hindi, the local and national language) They gave us a water bottle and shoe cover, since shoes aren't allowed in the Taj Mahal.

There was a courtyard leading to the Taj, along with many gates. I could see the top of the Taj, and I deflated a bit. It looked smaller than I had imagined! But we went through a building that was kind of an inbetween, and I saw it! The Taj Mahal!

Photos cannot get the full beauty of that place. It really stood out behind the blue sky, and I would comment about the waterways leading to it, but, unfortunately, it was under repair, so all the pictures we took didn't capture the full beauty of the place. It wasn't pure white, and that's to expected. Anything on this earth breaks down, all things head towards becoming dust. The Taj has been hurt by pollution and damage, and the people of Agra are doing their best to fix it. The reason we had to walk was because no cars or motorbikes are allowed at a certain limit, to preserve the Taj. That's probably also the reason there are no planes.

We took a few pictures of us all in front of the Taj, but I really wanted to get closer. I wanted to see what the Taj looks like on the side that's not pictured most. What did the back of that building look like?

There were two identical buildings on either side of the Taj Mahal. They were a red color, and pretty big. I regret that I was not able to look around those buildings, due to time constraints and Lil' Sis. But that's okay, I suppose. By the time we had finished touring the Taj, we were all burning hot and pretty tired.

It took a while for us to get to the base of it. I could see the ancient script on the sides, the flowery designs, and the crescent and ball on top, which represented the Hindu and Islam religions.

There were people who kept shoes, because, as I mentioned before, there are no shoes allowed in the Taj. We had been given only one shoe cover, so we all decided that my dad should wear it. Why? I don't know, but it ended up that way.

We left our shoes with him, and headed up the stairs to get in.
Little did I know the pain awaiting me...

It was about midday, and the sun was shining at full force. It was extremely hot, and I should have thought of the fact that the stone leading to the Taj would take in that heat.

Have you ever walked on hot sand? Well, you know how I felt. Twas like stepping on tacks! If you had an audio only of me, it would have been-

"Ooooh!"
"Ouch!"
*groan*

Please, if you ever go to the Taj, wear tennis shoes with socks, okay? =D

There were people all around, but for some reason, I just don't remember any sound. Like a gigantic off-white giant, the Taj Mahal loomed over me. I was ready to go in. (And get out of the unbearable heat)

Our guide showed us all sorts of details about the handicraft and reasons why the Taj is so highly regarded. I mean, they built all of it without the technology we have today! No cranes or lifts, only hands and tools that would be considered nothing big today!

No photography is allowed inside, and it was so, incredibly crowded, so my trip inside was a blur. The inside isn't that big, or didn't seem too big. I think they blocked off a lot of rooms.

The work in there with the semi-precious stones was unforgettable, though! It was so intricate and I can't imagine how much work must have gone into it!

It was dim inside of the Taj, and much cooler. It was a teensy bit interesting that I was actually in a grave- a king and queen's grave! I was creeped out or anything, and that was mostly because of the crowd. I was actually more worried about staying with my family than looking around. I felt so bad, but I had to push my way through a crowd to get to them!

After a daring escape out of the interior of the building, I finally got to see what I wanted to see. The back of the Taj Mahal!

Was I in for a surprise. The guide had mentioned it earlier that the Taj Mahal was perfectly symmetrical, but I hadn't fully realized it. The back looked exactly like the front! The only different was that the back faced a river and fields. I could see children playing on the river way, way below us.

We took some time to recover, and I sat on one of the long windowsills. We drank a LOT of water, and I think I drained a bottle or two, which is a lot for me. Once we were ready, we packed up everything and got ready for the hot walk back.

After getting our shoes back and paying the man for keeping them safe, we walked through the gardens a little bit. There were all kinds of trees and brushes. Pink flowers were everywhere! It took a long time to get back, but we finally made it to where we had started and piled into the car again.

That wasn't the end of my day, but it was the end of my Taj visit. Wasn't really as magical as I had envisioned, but I wouldn't have missed it!

(I know today was supposed to be Randomness Friday, but I thought you might enjoy reading about the Taj more. RF's will continue as normal next week. I also added some new songs to my playlist! Feel free to continue posting comments! I'm loving them!!!)

God Bless,

3 comments:

Tippie said...

Oh, DoT!! It sounds like your trip to India was AMAZING! *glomps*
I've always wanted to see the Taj Mahal. You were so lucky to go there. ;)
And, OUCH! I know how bad it hurts to walk on burning hot black asphalt with no shoes on. That must have been painful.
Glad you had such a good time!

SarahO'G said...

Sounds absolutely fascinating. My family is, as of right now, just taking trips around the U.S. but one day I hope I have the option to travel around the world - especially to Africa!

Orthopedic Imaging said...

I am so jealous you went to India. One of my dear friends is from India and I have always wanted to there and visit with him. The food, the people, the culture, and of course the architecture and history there is AMAZING! One day I will make it there, but until then, I will have your experiences to dream of.

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