Agra, Part ‘do’ (2)

After our great tour of the Agra Fort the day before, we woke up bright and early (6:30 a.m.) to beat the crowds to one of the world’s most recognizable monuments: The Taj Mahal.

Again, India likes grandeur.  Everything is massive.  Including the Taj complex.  So many people only pay attention to just the Taj Mahal and disregard the rest of the complex, which is equally as beautiful.  You first enter a large, walled courtyard with just a glimpse of the monument showing .

As soon as you turn down the central lane, you get this view:

Had we gotten there any earlier, this had the potential to be a pretty cool picture (thanks for ruining it, Patrick =).  And finally, you reach the inner courtyard and proceed to take thousands of pictures of the same thing in a variety of ways, enjoy:

Interesting tidbit: the four towers lean slightly outward to adjust for the imperfections of the human eye to make everything appear completely symmetrical.

Jumping pictures are always appropriate.  And close-ups of all the details; I love, love, love Islamic calligraphy – so beautiful!  And the religion is as fascinating as it is misunderstood by the West – if you ever get a chance to take a course in Islam (esp. at CSB/SJU with Armajani), I highly recommend it!

Some people in our group didn’t even wander into the other buildings surrounding the Taj.  They missed out on some incredible Indo-Islamic design in the right-side mosque:

When you are on the actual white granite part of the Taj Mahal, you leave your shoes at the staircase; when it has rained, it is extremely slipper!

A big congratulations goes out to Gar and Kolleen Kellom, who welcomed into the world two twin grandchildren while we were at the Taj.  Gar – “someday I’ll bring them to the Taj and tell them, ‘while you were being born, I was sitting right here”:

After the few hours (to little in my opinion..), we took off for our final destination in the tour of the Golden Triangle and drop off point for Patrick, Ryan and myself, the desert city of Jaipur.  It was a long drive, made longer by traffic jams on the highway, backed up for hours…

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