1.The Taj Mahal...unreal 2.Women and children returning from the bathing ghats of Yamuna River 3.An "Untouchable" wowed when i gave her a soda 4.Children of Agra 5.Backdrop for a stimulating conversation
-The Taj Mahal...wow...
well before we get started on how breathtakingly awesome the Taj is, lets take it back to Delhi.
I booked a ticket to Udaipur, Rajasthan, but due to conflict between the Rajasthani people and their government, my ticket was canceled for 4 days straight. Very frustrating, but my trivial desires pale in comparison to the needs of the Rajasthani people. Not quite sure of the situation in its entirety, but it was apparently dire enough for them to lay their bodies across the railroad tracks. None the less frustrated with it all, i decided to skip my 2nd trip through Rajasthan and opt for Uttar Pradesh, to a place called Agra. The home of the grandiose Taj Mahal. I made it to Agra around midnight. And after sat beside a criminal in custody, bound hand and foot, and tended by 6 or 7 local police, all armed with lock and load rifles a score and a half short of being considered muskets, for 5 hours, I'm happy to arrive! The guy was actually nice and continually offered me cigarettes. I don't think he understood "i don't smoke"...anyways...The elected guesthouse, apprised by my traveler's bible, Lonely Planet, put me 50 meters away from the west gate of the Taj. The view from the roof of this humble stay was implausible! I spent only one day in Agra, but it was rather fruitful. Waking just at sunrise, i treked out to the west gate of the Taj Mahal. My luck... closed on Fridays for cleaning. I walked around to the Yamuna River flowing out back to engage in some people watching and procure a great view of the Taj. Later, I met a darling Polish couple named "Sticky" and Peter. We shared travel stories over our rooftop breakfast. They were the only westerners i saw in Agra, and two of the most sincere and delightful individuals i've met on my trip thus far. After breakfast i hired an "auto" for a trip to the railway's reservation office and a little sightseeing. In general, the modest sights of Agra are awesome. I can't imagine spending an extended period of time here, but the time devoted was well spent. Reaching Mehtab Bagh(opposite side of the river) one can leave all modesty behind. The Taj has the ability to move one to tears. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan over the course of 22 years, it was reared as a memorial for his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz died while giving birth to their 14th child. Subsequently, the Emperor was left in a state of utter devastation, and the product of this grief...one of the 7 wonders of the world. "A teardrop on the face of eternity"