The Taj Mahal

Our first stop of the day and the main reason why you visit India––to see the spectacular Taj Mahal. It was quite a thrill to see it. We visited it in the morning before the air pollution got so bad it would be hard to see. It was a Sunday and there were hoards of visitors.

We were given time to walk around the Taj Mahal complex, which contains the tomb of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1631 giving birth to their 14th child. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in her memory.

The Taj Mahal was built to perfect proportions and showcases the best of Mughal architecture.

The inside of the tomb was very crowded and we were allowed to walk around the cenotaphs (empty caskets) of the emperor and his wife. No photos allowed. At one time, you were allowed on the bottom level where they are actually buried. I don’t know if you are allowed on the top level, but I didn’t see any entrance to it. Lalit, our tour guide, said that soon only those willing to pay $500 will be allowed inside.

For a slideshow of my photos of the Taj Mahal and its complex, go to

http://www.peggysphotos.com/day–6a–agra–the–taj–mahal/

(Slide Shows, Asia, India, “Day 7A: Agra. Taj Mahal).

The Taj Mahal

Who Was at the Taj Mahal

The Indian women are dressed very colorfully and their outfits all look unique. I took photos of the various clothing and also of other people who were visiting the Taj Mahal.

For the slideshow, go to

http://www.peggysphotos.com/day–7b–agra–taj–mahal/

(Slide Shows, Asia, India, “Day 6B: Agra. Who Was at the Taj Mahal”).

Who Was at the Taj Mahal

Marble Shop

After visiting the Taj Mahal, we went to a marble shop where semi–precious stones were inlaid into marble. Many of the designs in the shop resembled those seen in both the tomb of Itimad–ud–Doulah and the Red Fort that we were to go later. They probably were also in the Taj Mahal.

Marble Shop

Marble Shop

Shown are workers polishing semi–precious stones to fit into marble.

Marble Shop

Marble Shop

Some of the semi–precious stones: turquoise was one of them.

Marble Shop

Marble Shop

The stones are cut to fit into carved marble.

Marble Shop

Totally Drenched Lyn

A sneaker wave (a sleeper wave, the 7th wave, the 20th wave, a large coastal wave, a rogue wave) came in without warning. I heard “run, run” and I looked over my shoulder to see the surf coming onto the beach where we were standing. I knew it would probably knock me down before I could outrun it, so, instinctively (from doing this when, at times, getting out of the Pacific Ocean), I held my camera high and dropped to my knees. Success.

Lyn didn’t hear “run, run” and her back was to the ocean. The really strong surf knocked her down flat and also two other women on our tour and two others from another tour. Lyn couldn’t get up before the second sneaker wave hit and rolled over her. Erik rescued her and also got soaked. This was the top photo–op of the whole trip and no one took a photo of it!

Luckily, we had our suitcases in the bus, so were able to change into dry clothes.

 

Totally Drenched Lyn

Marble Shop

A worker etching marble to where the polished and cut stones will be placed.

Marble Shop

Jaypee Palace Hotel

We went back to our hotel to have lunch on our own. Going from and back to our hotel were many large resort hotels set back from the road. You can treat yourself here.

Jaypee Palace Hotel

Jaypee Palace Hotel

Our hotel was so big that you had to memorize how to get to your room without walking all the halls to find it. I had to do this once!

Jaypee Palace Hotel

Jaypee Palace Hotel

I chose the buffet for lunch. My choices. All very good and a chance to try different Indian foods. I got to eat with Lalit which was a treat.

Jaypee Palace Hotel

The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Doulah

After lunch, we visited the Tomb of Itimad–ud–Doulah which was built by his daughter Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, for her father. It was the first tomb in India to be built of marble and was started in 1622. It was built before the Taj Mahal and is regarded as a protype for the Taj Mahal. It is sometimes called the “Baby Taj.”

Nur Jahan’s father was named Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was originally a Persian Amir in exile. He was given the title of Itimad–ud–Doulah, pillar of the state, when he came to the Mughal court. Nur Jahan had married Sher Afgan who was later murdered. Some suspected that Jahangir had him murdered as he had fallen in love with Nur Jahan and he married her later. She was the 12th and favorite wife of Jahangir and became one of the most powerful and influential women of the Mughal empire in the 17th century.

The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Doulah

The Red Fort

Our last stop of the day was at the Red Fort, built between 1565 and 1573. It is older than both the Tomb of Itimad–ud–Daulah and the Taj Mahal. It was the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. Most of it was built of sandstone.

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

Some of its buildings were made of marble, such as the Diwan I Am (the Hall of Public Audience).

I have put my photos of both the Tomb of Itimad–ud–Doulah and the Red Fort on a slideshow. Go to

http://www.peggysphotos.com/day–7c–tomb–agra–fort/

(Slide Shows, Asia, India, “Day 7C: Tomb & Agra Fort”).

The Red Fort

Agra Street Scenes

One of the street scenes I saw on our drive to the major Agra sites.

Agra Street Scenes

Agra Street Scenes

Another street scene: a woman with really great head balance.

I put the photos I took of Agra street scenes on a slideshow. Go to

http://www.peggysphotos.com/day–7d–agra/

(Slide Shows, Asia, India, “Day 7D: Driving Around Agra”).

Agra Street Scenes

Dinner at an Agra Restaurant

I went on an optional tour that included dinner and a Bollywood dancer. The photo is of my tour mates who had henna tattoos (Mehndi) painted on their hands and arms at the restaurant. They are supposed to last from three weeks to a month.

Dinner at an Agra Restaurant

Dinner at an Agra Restaurant

Close–up of a henna tattoo.

Dinner at an Agra Restaurant

Bollywood Dancer–MOVIE

We were entertained at our dinner by a Bollywood Dancer.

Bollywood Dancer–MOVIE