Thursday, July 23, 2015

India Day Two: "Delhi Belly" and the Taj Mahal

Hello! I hope that you guys are enjoying the latest blog posts. Today's post is about our trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. As you can probably guess from the title of the post, I was not feeling too well on Monday for the four to five hours car journey (both ways!). It did not help that I sat in the way back of the car for the first hour of the trip through Delhi. We ended up having to stop so I could sit in the passenger seat in the front. Other than that, I had a great day and the Taj Mahal is awe-inspiring.

The drive from Delhi to Agra was on the whole fine even though I was feeling quite nauseous the entire time. It shocked all of us the state of the city of Agra. Agra used to have a metal industry, but that was taken away in order to preserve the Taj Mahal. We couldn't imagine having to live there and the conditions in which those people live.

Going into the Taj Mahal complex (and through another gender separated security check) was amazing. I had not realized that there was more to it than the marble building itself. 

Through the arch in the above photo, you can see the doors to the Taj. We were able to get a better look at this symmetry inside the building.

Stepping through that arch, we were met by a magnificent view of the grounds. It was crowded but absolutely amazing.

From @thekschiap
The crowds did not bother me so much as the heat (which did not help me in feeling better). Instead of walking through the throng of people, we walked along the outskirts and under the trees.

We then walked to the balcony surrounding the Taj Mahal for some great views before going into the building itself.

The inside of the marble building holds the tombs of Emperor Shah Jahan and his third wife Empress Mumtaz Mahal (for whom the Taj is built). It is beautiful sight to behold. The only problem was that there were many people inside and it got really hot and stifling. We exited the building through the back doors to discuss the architecture of the building.

From @thekschiap

The land across the river in one of the above photos was where Emperor Shah Jahan would have built his own tomb in a black stone. One of his sons, however, imprisoned his father for spending so much money on the Taj Mahal, so the second one was never built. Also our guide debunked one myth about whether or not the architects of the Taj Mahal had their hands cut off, broken, or killed. He said that if Emperor Shah Jahan wanted to build a second Taj Mahal, why would he injure the architects?

After seeing the Taj Mahal, we were driven to the Trident Hotel in Agra to use the bathrooms and eat lunch. The buffet looked delicious, but I only ate some rice, naan, bread and chicken because I was not feeling well. I wish that I could have tasted all of the dishes!

Before heading back, we went to an artisan shop where they do the same type of marble work as what is on the Taj Mahal. It was truly amazing to see the time and effort that goes into making these magnificent masterpieces. The drive back to Delhi wasn't so bad because everyone (except the driver) slept for the first two hours of the journey! We passed rice paddies and little villages as we zoomed by on the highway.

We unfortunately hit Delhi rush hour as soon as we hit the outskirts of the city. It took us five and a half hours to get back from Agra, when it only should have taken three or four hours.

We are dinner at the hotel and then went to bed in preparation for the first business day of the trip. Thankfully the next day I felt much better and I could eat what I wanted!

See you in the next post!

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