Travel and the Taj Mahal…

Friday July 19 was a travel day; we left Mysore later than our planned 7am because trusty Shivu arrived very late 😦 I was frustrated at first and then had to put on my “Indian culture hat” and say “this is India”!

Our flight was fine and our bus picked us up at the airport as planned and took us shopping at Dilli Haat – a large cluster of shopping and eating stalls representing a number of states of India. The students had a great time shopping and we ate dinner there before we went to our hotel.

One more hiccup of this trip – they hotel said our booking had been cancelled!! Luckily I was able to reach our travel agent who had made the arrangements and he apologized and arranged for us to go to another hotel close by – the same one we had stayed in last year – phew! Just seems to be the theme of this trip to keep having these hiccups!

Saturday July 20: Taj Mahal

We left our hotel at 8am for the long drive to Agra to see the Taj. This year we were much better prepared than last year! We left earlier, made sure we had extra water bottles, ate lunch upon arriving in Agra and then went to the Taj. Our driver also took us to the West Gate (last year we went to the East Gate) – and it appeared that the West Gate entrance is less crowded.

We got a guide, got our tickets and proceeded to the imposing West Gate…

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Our first glimpse of the majestic Taj Mahal through the archway of the West Gate

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Though the heat was intense, the beauty of the Taj, built over 22 years in 1630 is surreal. Everything is symmetric, the marble is so pure, the work is so detailed, and it has been maintained so beautifully, it is awesome…

We had a short 5-minute rest after exiting the Taj…

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Took a final group pic…

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and then stopped for some more shopping…Ravi being the salesperson here… 🙂

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Some of us chose to ride in a horse carriage (called a tonga) to the parking lot (instead of the electric golf carts that are typically used)

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And then it was back on the bus for the long drive back to Delhi, where we ended the day with some yummy gelato at the place called Dolce Gelato right across the street from our hotel. One student still under the weather 😦 – and tomorrow is our last day of sightseeing some of the historic sites in Delhi…

 

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