Well let me tell you just a little bit about my adventure(s) in India, while I was there several months ago. It takes time to process and decompress from being on the ground for over 5 months, separated from most of life and living on the edge. I finished my tour of duty overseeing a project that was building an orphanage for 75+ kids. And was given a week to travel before, I returned back home to the U.S.A.
The first part of the week was spent traveling up to New Delhi, and then to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal. I’m the second member my immediate family to visit there, the last time was over 50 years before, when my father was able to visit the Taj in the 1960′s. I spent the night at the
Jaypee Palace Hotel in Agra, very nice hotel, has a nice setup with all the amenities you could wish for, and has nice walkways through gardens and palm trees to enjoy, as one listens to the birds singing in the trees, and watch a butterfly flit from flower to flower, beside a clear blue pool of water.
The next morning, we (a friend and me) grabbed a taxi for the day, and drove towards Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory), where we found Jodha Bai’s Palace, with such sights as the Anup talao, the Diwan-i-Kas, and the Queen’s Inner Palace. Spend most of the morning there viewing the sights (I would recommend visiting the Palace, it’s peaceful and not a lot of tourists visit it. On the other hand, though Akbar the Great’s Palace, which is only a couple of hundred feet away, teems with life almost all day long. It’s main attraction is the Tomb of Salim Chishti, which is in the Jama Masjid courtyard of Akbar’s Palace. There were thousands of people there, and it was the middle of Summer, with the heat beating down. You are required to remove your shoes when entering Akbar’s Palace, but not Jodha Bai’s Palace, the stones are so hot even at 10 am, that you can burn your feet from walking on them for only a few moments, I should know, I got blisters from that event.
We then went to the Moon Garden, back in Agra, and enjoyed several hours of resting in the shade of the trees and looking across the river at one of the most beautiful sights in the world, the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal (Crown of Palaces) was first started in 1632 A.D. and completed almost 21 years later in 1653 A.D. There are some fascinating stories about it, but I will hold off on sharing, dear reader, because you can find out about that from other sources.
We entered the Taj Mahal’s grounds via the East Gate, and walked towards the inner gate which leads in to the main grounds before the Taj Mahal. As you enter, I have been told there is an optical illusion that can be seen when entering the first gate towards the Taj. I’ve seen it, at first the Taj Mahal is far away, then as you draw closer and are entering the portal, it seems larger, as you move through the passageway, then the Taj recedes in the distance, and the optical illusion is lost.