The next morning was an early start on the local train heading into Agra. There we were going to visit Agra fort and the infamous Taj Mahal!
Now the thing about India at this time of year, there is very limited visibility in the morning and sometimes into mid-afternoon. I have seen the Apple Weather app call this everything from “smoke” to “haze” to “fog.” Bottom line, I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a little more to do with air quality than it has to do with moisture in the air which can really put a damper on seeing things at times.
Because of this we needed to wait until the later afternoon to see the Taj Mahal. This was fine by me! After coming all this way, I would actually like to see it to enjoy it.
So when we arrived in Agra, we went straight to visit the Agra Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the Fort, we stopped into a carpet factory to learn about the making of traditional carpets in India. I don’t know why but these classic carpets have really grown on me after visiting the factory in Turkey and learning about what goes into making each carpet.
We did not buy one but I definitely enjoyed taking a stroll over each carpet. I also enjoyed drinking the complementary Chai and snacks provided.
Well. When in Rome…
After lunch, it was finally time for the Taj Mahal! Our group gathered outside the main entrance with a guide for some history before entering. Frankly, I appreciated the history lesson, as I can admit, I did not know anything about the Taj Mahal other than what I had seen in photos.
I suspect a few of my friends also do not know the history, so here is a brief summary:
At one time in Agra, there was king who was having problems with his wife getting pregnant. Because of this he decided to keep getting more wives until one of them gave him some children. His third wife, which was apparently the youngest and most beautiful, was the one to succeed! Fourteen children to be exact. She died during the birth of their 14th child. Before she died, she asked him to prove to her that he loved her the most of all by completing two requests. One, to never marry again. Two, to honour her memory by displaying to the world his love for her.
He built the Taj Mahal in her honour. If you ask me, I think he did a pretty good job proving his love.
But all of us women do not need that kind of elaborate display of love. Kevin lets me sleep on 3/4 of the bed. And I love him for it everyday!
Actually, he may disagree about the “lets me” part …
Anyway, below are some pictures of the entrance to the Taj Mahal. Apparently, that morning in the court yard it was so “foggy” you could not even see the entrance!
I was glad we had waited until the afternoon to visit.
Finally, it was time to go!
To see it in person is as impressive as you would expect! We walked around for a couple of hours and got some great shots.
We also had a local photographer that followed around the group to take photos. Some of the shots were hilarious. We had to get them.
After walking around for a while, we found a bench to hang out on for a bit. During this time we were approached by multiple people for photographs. Not of them and the Taj Mahal. But them and us! I told Kevin that maybe we just looked so awesome in our aviators that they thought we were celebrities.
This never happens at home.
God bless India.