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Lots of people talk about the Taj Mahal being on their bucket list.  I didn’t think of it as  reason to go to India, just a nice thing to do while here.  But then, I saw it!

Okay, so you can’t see it yet.  But after walking  3 miles (all streets were closed to traffic for Agra marathon), seeing this sunrise on the grounds was quite inspiring.

The main gate. It was hazy, my photos will never equal the pros but maybe you can experience a little of what I saw.


A view from the side. Can you see the beautiful marble? The Taj was built by Akbar, the third Mughal emperor or India as a mausoleum for his beloved wife. He hired artisans from all over the world and it took 20,000 men 28 years to build. It has a complicated infrastructure which makes it probably one of the first earthquake resistant buildings. The marble is incised and decorated with semi precious stones. This technique was imported from Persia and is still practiced in Agra today. Before the Taj, most buildings were sandstone.

This close up of one small piece of decoration has jasper, carnelian, fossilized stone and one I forget.  The marble was incised, the pieces of stone were cut to fit the incision and then pasted in.  The marble which is much harder than Italian marble, is still translucent and shimmers in the light.  The carnelian used is also translucent and adds a red glow.

Made me speechless from every angle. Tomorrow we go to see the 10th century temples of Khajuraho; some of which feature erotic motifs. Happy V day!

In this small town in the middle of nowhere, is a fort and palace dating back to the 17th century.

The fort was built by the Mughals starting in the 15th century.

The palace inside the fort was a marvel of architecture. Being in such a remote place it is in private hands and part of it has been restored and made into a hotel.

This tile design is original with no restoration needed. There’s a bath in the women’s quarters that had hot and cold running water in the 16th century when we, in America were living in log cabins!

The more than Olympic size pool with an architectural folly in the middle for resting.

An architectural gem in the middle of nowhere!

A whirlwind of sights and sounds and smells during our three days in Delhi.  Here’s some of the sights that inspired me.

After a wild paddy-cab (bicycle rickshaw) ride, we went to the Jama Masjid Mosque; the largest in India, built by Shah Jehan, the 5th Mughal emperor in 1650.

45,000 people can pray here.

Washing in the sacred pool

On to the Mahatma Ghandi Memorial, Raj G’haat, the stately cremation ground with a serene monument containing some of his ashes.

Children dressed for the occasion.

The simple memorial

School girls visiting with their class.

We also went to see Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, approx. 200 year old Sikh temple.  The building is all marble.

But the inspiring part was the kitchen where food is prepared to feed anyone who needs.

More to come…

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