Mar 9, 2011

The Taj Mahal

On the same weekend that we visited the Agra Fort, we also toured the Taj Mahal.  We had an awesome tour guide that made sure we got there early before it got crowded.  We were able to enjoy the serenity of the 7th wonder of the world aside from all the craziness that was going on all around it.  When I say craziness, I mean the traffic of India and the hustle and bustle of the streets next to the entrance.  (If you are curious to see a glimpse of light traffic here, check out this video.  It is older but still fairly accurate on what to expect.
It was an amazing opportunity to be able to experience the Taj Mahal.

Entrance to the Taj
Looking back from the Taj Mahal toward the entrance
I was listening I promise - tour guide telling the history of the Taj Mahal

Just proof I was actually there!  :)

Hand carved stones and marble created the walkway to the Taj

A current day active mosque used each Friday - the Taj Mahal is closed to tourists on Friday to allow for worship in the mosque.
Closer view of the mosque

It was a little hazy, but still beautiful!

I can't even describe how large this structure is in person.

It took 22 years to complete due to the workmanship that was involved.
Huge arch over the main entrance
So breathtaking when you know how much went into the construction of this!

Beautfiul inlay and carving work around the entry doorway to the Taj Mahal

Intricate patterns carved into the marble surround the replica tombs on the first floor.  The real tombs are underground, but the replicas are directly behind this wall.  It is too dark to get a good picture of the replicas up close.

Of course, you have your guards on duty standing around observing everyone.
Camel ride anyone?  They were taking people back and forth on the short walk from the street to the Taj Mahal's entrance.
Up close and personal
"Wild" monkeys along the pathway - they can be aggressive, but these particular ones are use to people feeding them.  We still steered clear of their immediate path!

I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to see such an amazing structure and to experience a little more of India while I was here.  It has been an eye opening experience for me being in this country for three weeks - away from family and friends.  It has helped me put my life into perspective and to realize all the many things I have to be grateful for in my life.  I am truly blessed to have the life I have and to have all the amazing and wonderful family and friends that provide love, friendship, and support for me and my family.  I can't wait to be back home and to see everyone!  Only a few more days to go......

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