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Taj Mahal Painted Pink

INDIA | Tuesday, 19 May 2009 | Views [1427] | Comments [4]

The Taj Mahal is a monument I did not even try to conjure up how would look in person. Similar to before I saw Machu Picchu, I knew what to expect but I also did not. You never know how a monumental piece from history will deliver in peron; on a visual level as well as how it hits you personally. Similar to before a person sees the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Ancient Pyramids and so on. Through the years you come across many images of these special places but it is not until it is right in your face are you given the opportunity to internally react.
Well the Taj Mahal certainly delivered. We received a wake up call for 5:30 am so we could see the Taj in the early morning light. There are pros and cons to traveling on the off season. This morning in particular highlighted one of the pros- less people. We entered from the east gate with only a couple other people trickeling in. As we turned right we saw the main entrance. The dark entrance served as a bold frame encapsulating the dusty pink Taj set back in the distance. It was almost as though I had this magnificent site all to my own, only to be shared with Andrew. At 6:00 am it was already hot and my skin wass sticky with the humidity, but only one of my senses seemed to be working. My vision was hauling, going 120 mph, taking in as much as possible not to miss a beat. The smooth curves of the building and surrounding mosques to me reflected a woman's physique. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan started the building of the Taj in 1632 as a mausoleum to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The mausoleum was not completed until 1653. The female presence was overwhelming and I could envision how Emperor Shah Jahan would be able to come to the Taj and find solace on the grounds. He no longer had his wife in body, but definitely in presence with this large yet delicate edifice.
Immediately an Indian man with hair died orange (a current fad in India) said he would start snapping pictures of Andrew and I. We happily took him up on his offer and proceeded to have many pictures taken of us in front of the Taj from all angles. The reflection of the Taj in the pools which are an extension of the landscape offer a perfect mirror image. The marble platform the Taj is built upon sets the mausoleum afloat. The monument is practically skimming the ground and there is nothing in the distance behind the Taj obstructing the perfect periwinkle and rose colored sky which looks like a painted canvas. Before walking up onto the marble platform we are instructed to take off our shoes. The marble feels cool beneath my feet not yet having warmed up from the sun now starting to show its face. The intricate detail spent in the exterior carving of the mausoleum was unexpected. Up close I realize the majority of the surface is carved with different white marble wild flowers. Small pieces of marble inlay in red, brown, green, and orange also carved into vines and delicate flowers have been placed around these carvings as a border. As we walk into the main building, with the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, we are not allowed to take photos. It is dark inside, but I can still see that not a trace of the interior has been left without some feminine and floral decoration. Her tomb itself is on the small side but something bigger is not needed. The entirety of the Mausoleum is what holds Mumtaz Mahal.
After exiting from the back an Indian family watches me snapping photos. They then ask for me to take their picture so that they can then look at it. This is something common in India. We walk over to the neighboring mosques which were carved from red sandstone. The walls and ceilings in both buildings were also carved intricately as well as symmetrically. The surrounding grounds of the Taj consist of lush green gardens with wild birds chirping. Ans and I are both reluctant in leaving this vision behind, pausing several times at the exiting gate and snapping a couple more photos (as if we had not already taken plenty) just for good measure.
I then suggest we head into the town of Agra for some food and Ans is hesitant as we already drove through the previous evening from the train station and it was dirty, smelly, and difficult to find our way. I don't want to eat at the hotel and Joney's came recommend, let's go! The nice thing about Joney's is we can see where the food is being prepared and the man who seems to be the owner is incredibly friendly. I have my first Indian breakfast consisting of hot chai, potato curry, and roti (bread). Ans has his usual- veggie omelet. The cook urges us to have a mango juice fresh squeezed. This mango juice was so packed with flavor and body we immediately order a second. This begins our mango obsession as we continue to travel throughout India. Picking up mangoes wherever we can, they are in peak season and always perfectly ripe!




here's a fucked up coincidence: my best friend from miami decided to take a month long trip to nepal. he's there now, at his lama's father's house (obviously, my friend is a big buddhist). it'd be too hard at this point to meet up - no computer access in nepal - but it would be pretty cool to go to nepal and find a lama's house waiting for you.
also, my other good friend is in south korea. he's extremely accessible on facebook anytime. he's actually in DC right now, but he'll be back in three weeks. you guys should meet up if you go to s. korea. he's been to china, japan, etc. already. maybe he could give you tips.

  marcel Jun 8, 2009 8:10 AM


andrew had an EGG in that OMELET ?!?
vegan card revoked.

  marcel Jun 8, 2009 8:23 AM


When am I going to see some Thai pics? I hope you guys are having a fantastic time. I love how you guys are documenting your trip like this. Al, I seriously miss you and there is not one day that goes by where I don't want to call you. I hope Andy is taking excellent care of you (I know he is) and that you two travellers are loving every second of your time in Asia. I miss you both and be safe!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

  Keri Jun 10, 2009 3:44 AM


I am still waiting for updates. This thing is a month behind! Lets go people! Have you guys been visiting the temples? You need to go to the temple with the bat caves. its amazing!

  Keri Jun 17, 2009 4:40 AM



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