Monday, March 27, 2006

India's Crowning Glory

I am back from my trip to India. And as always, am still nostalgic and very home sick. The trip itself was good. Lots of good time with my parents and relatives, loads to eat and drink and last but not the least the much awaited trip to Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

Wah Taj !

I could not afford more than a day or two of vacation due to some other pressing business. So I was very happy to actually sneak a day to see the Taj Mahal. Last I went, me and my sister were still in school (I was in the 9th grade) and it was very hot in April. We were on a school trip and the most pleasant memory was that of seeing the Taj. I still remember that one particular side of the monument was in the shadow of the main tomb and hence, there was a very cool and pleasant breeze blowing. I loved just sitting there and enjoying the cool breeze.

One of the minarets at the Taj

This time around I went with my sister's husband, Amit. This time around too it was a bit hot, though not as bad as last time. And this time too, the most pleasant time was spent just sitting in the shadow area and enjoying the pleasant breeze.

The western entrance to the Taj Mahal

A lot of things had changed also. Our car could not drive all the way upto the monument - there is a pollution free zone around the monument now. You park your car a little way off and either take a rickshaw or a "tanga". Plus there were covers we had to wear on our shoes to step onto the white tomb. And the real graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz were not open for viewing.

A view of the Yamuna from the Taj

But from what I could remember, the monument still looked pretty much the same - still standing very tall and grand, still inspiring awe and still leaving the visitors agape with their mouths open. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing this most beautiful and the grandest of gifts of love.

A closer look at the engravings and inlay work

Oh and as an afternote, Amit did tell me that now a Shatabdi runs in the morning from Delhi to Agra and is a very convenient mode of transport to the city. Though the road from Delhi is not bad either.