itchy feet cravings

Reminiscing Taj Mahal

It’s been four years since I’ve been to India. If only I could turn back time so I could do the things I wish I had done when I got the chance to visit the place. Rummaging through my old photos, I realized I wasn’t “travel-ready” back then when I arrived here in October 2007. Nevertheless, I am blessed to know I had that chance to see the Taj Mahal, this impressive, large white marble mausoleum located in Agra and billed as one of the  Eight Wonders of the World and designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was also during this visit I learned that traveling is not all just about going to exciting places. Traveling taught me the discipline of getting up early, getting ready with my things and being mindful of them, of building camaraderie with your travelmates and most of all, patience. I was with a group of journalists covering then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s state visit to India. The last leg of her visit included a trip to Taj Mahal. So when we in the media covering her retinue were told about this, we were asked to wake up at dawn—something I am not so much used to. But I am excited at the prospect that’s why I woke up much earlier than my two roommates. Got my things ready and had cup noodles for breakfast. We left the Taj Hotel in New Delhi at about 4:30 am. The hotel staff packed our breakfast which we ate along the way. You see, it was  partly also the driver’s advice that we leave New Delhi early for Agra so we wouldn’t get stuck in traffic. Traffic in India is said to be one of the worst things travelers can experience, they say, and so we just readily agreed to stick to the schedule. Besides, we need to be at the venue before the President arrives. We tried to catch up with sleep during the travel. We’ve been running smoothly when the car suddenly screeched and the driver blew the horn repeatedly. We woke up, jolted by the suddenness and realized there was a family of monkeys that tried to cross the highway. It was picture-perfect! But sadly we were not ready with our cameras and the monkeys were quick to run.

the motel where we stopped by

We decided to stop for awhile at a driveway inn on the way just to freshen up and take a leak. While we were there, I couldn’t help bask in the scenery. We just passed by an immense rice field and the sight reminded me of provincial fields back home in Batangas. We boarded again and this time, we decided to stay awake so as not to miss seeing anything unique. True enough, we found something to amuse us throughout the trip.  With eyes wide open, we could finally take a peek into everyday life in India.

Finally, we reached Agra! Based on the arrangement, our driver had to wait at the bus station and we would be riding a bus on our way to the Taj Mahal. We did so and then later found out that the bus cannot go in all the way to the entrance. We were forced to walk from there. But I guess it’s alright. I felt I need to work out my cramped feet. We’ve been sitting inside the car for almost four hours. Upon reaching the entrance, we waited. While waiting outside, I can’t resist taking a few more snapshots…

 I stopped from taking pictures when suddenly we saw Mrs. Arroyo’s convoy arrive and her entourage starting to disembark from their vehicles. Together, we trooped inside. I felt the sudden rush of excitement at that.

the Great Gate, entrance to Taj Mahal

And so from here, the fun begins…

this, they say is one of my best shot of the Taj Mahal

The weather was so hot so I decided to stay for a while at the first entrance gate where one can behold the magnificent structure from there.

while at the grounds…

the walkway beside the reflecting pool…

We walked some more and reached the foot of the Taj itself… …and looking at the facade, one gets awed at this gigantic marble architecture…

they consider this a holy ground so our feet has to be covered in a red cloth bag.
preparing to go up

…and inside, one gets to see the interior of the Taj Mahal…

Just a quick background: this mausoleum was built by the emperor in memory of his third wife who died during the birth of their 14th child. Shah Jahan ruled during the Mughal empire’s period of greatest prosperity.  Construction started in 1632, the principal mausoleum completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and the garden five years later. (Source: Wikipedia)

other structures nearby…

I wished we had more time to make the rounds ’round here. Good thing though, I took as many pictures as I wanted, though I did not post it anymore here. I really wish I can go back, if only to experience once again this exhilarating journey and  see for myself what else India has to offer to someone whose stricken with wanderlust like me… 🙂 And if someone would ask what my impression of the Taj Mahal is…I would just leave you with Shah Jahan’s famous description of his creation because frankly, I could not find the right words to say … Should guilty seek asylum here, Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin. Should a sinner make his way to this mansion, All his past sins are to be washed away. The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs; And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes. In this world this edifice has been made; To display thereby the creator’s glory. 😀

2 thoughts on “Reminiscing Taj Mahal

  1. Gorgeous photos! I’ve always wanted to visit the Taj Mahal, everyone who’s been has come back raving about its jaw-dropping beauty. There was this one picture I saw in a Nat Geo magazine that was more than enough to convince me to go – it was the sunrise from the other side of the river, with the monument and the two pink structures on either side. I hope you got to see that too!

    1. hi! thanks for liking it. unfortunately, that was one of the things we were not able to do. we were pressed for time but from a distance we could see the river. however, i wasn’t able to take a picture. that’s why i’m raring also to go back. i hope you could also get to taj mahal and with that immerse yourself with their food culture. something i neglected to try…:-)

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