Good morning from Delhi where the sun is shining bright with the expected high of twenty nine degrees. We have started our journey towards Agra where the famous Taj Mahal resides. Although our travels have been mainly on a coach bus, did you know that India has the third largest railway system in the world. The highway to Agra was 6 lanes with no traffic and was just opened October 2012. We arrived in Agra ahead of schedule to view one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’.
The class was breath taken by the snow white marble tomb. The Taj Mahal was finished in 1653. We took hundreds of pictures as we walked past the fountains up to the Taj Mahal. Pictures do not do this monument justice with its perfect symmetry and beautifully inlaid semi precious stones. We had the opportunity to tour the inside of the tomb and were shown how the semi precious stones are translucent to bright light. This is what makes the Taj glow during sunrises and sunsets.
Our guide then proceeded to take us to the Agra Fort which was the royal palace to many of the kings of Agra, which dates back to 1565, with its wide moats and marble rooms similar to the Taj Mahal. This fort had a perfect view of the Taj Mahal.
We had an opportunity at the end of the day to visit a boutique which specializes in marble inlaid work. We had a presentation on how this ancient technique is done by ancestors from artisans builders of the Taj Mahal. Many of our classmates purchased some souvenirs to take home. A set of beautiful marble coasters were purchased for the 2014 AALP Dream Auction.
With only one day left in India everyone is looking forward to coming home!
Stefanie Bech-Hansen, Marty Derks, Paul Vickers – AALP Class 14 bloggers