Tales of the TajDelhi, Fall 2012
I am skeptic about hype. On general principal, I try to avoid things that are too mainstream and believe hidden treasures to be the best kind – maybe that is why I presently find myself wandering around India. So when something is dubbed with the lofty title “Seventh Wonder of the Modern World,” my natural assumption is that it can’t possibly be that cool.
Yet as I stepped through that archway and caught my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal, a chill crawled slowly down my spine, freezing me in my place amongst the hoards of fellow pilgrims. It was majestic, humbling, overbearing, and a slew of other adjectives that all seemed to pose the question, “How could you be so pretentious as to believe credit was not given where credit was due?”
As orientation came to an end this weekend, we took a group excursion to Agra in order to, amongst other expeditions, pay homage to the Taj. It was the first time since arrival that I have left the confines of New Delhi, and from our 6 a.m. train ride on Friday morning to our weary return late last night, It was a trip that I will not soon forget.
Upon arrival we drove directly to Fatehpur Sikri, a not-so-serene mosque where we were promptly greeted by dozens of street vendors who followed us around aggressively attempting to sell us cheap necklaces and miniature chess sets. Though a bit overwhelming in this regard, the site offered a rare beauty nonetheless.
After lunch most of the group went to another tomb and some gardens while the remainder of us (your humble narrator included) hung back to take advantage of the hotel’s aquatic facilities. It sounds lazy, and probably is, but in the sweltering Indian summer I was not about to pass up on the rare chance to sit in a pool for three hours. The luxury and relaxation was reinvigorating in ways you cannot imagine.
The next morning we woke up early and walked to the Taj Mahal. From there we went on to explore the remains of Akbar’s tomb and Agra Fort, both of which maintained a dominating presence and again far exceeded expectations.
Exhausted, we retired for tea time and then caught our train ride home on the Shatabdi Express. It was an incredible journey of sight seeing and spa activities, of which I have saved my favorite part to tell of last. It has long been a dream of mine to catch and domesticate a monkey, another reason why I perhaps find myself in India. While I did not get quite this far, in the wake of the Taj I was fortunate enough to catch an exciting attempt by one of our members on camera. Observe:
The Taj Mahal really is a magical place.
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