After an early breakfast, we started our four hour drive to Agra. I mentioned how we didn’t have wifi right? So I had nicely inquired about the free 15 minutes of wifi the hotel offered late at night and the wifi just never went away, so I actually got wifi for two days!!!!!! We had essays to write for our art history class, I remember. We were all casually stressed for not being able to work on it much over the weekend. Jk, not stressed at all; we had a mission all on its own.
We went to the Agra Fort first. It was crowded. And red. Lots of red and people. Difficult to take pictures. All my pics were blocked by the heads in front of me. Bc I’m short, kinda.
The Fort was built as a military structure by Akbar and turned into a palace by his son Shah Jahan. The Fort was then remodeled into the Red Fort in New Delhi, which we didn’t get to see. The two are similar in structure, however. Cute place. We mainly took photos rather than hear the tour guide talk.
But theeeeeeen, we went to the TAJ MAHAL. Yayzz. It’s pronounced Mu-hel in Hindi–not Mu-haal like I’ve heard it all my life. And like, it was cool. We really only had an hour inside to be alone (as in, not required to be in a group) and take pics, WHICH REALLY IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO DO PHOTOSHOOTS AND ADMIRE THE STRUCTURE ITSELF. So I felt like I didn’t get to actually absorb in the sight. 😦 Even still, it was grand. It was magnificent. They gave us shoe covers because shoe soles are not allowed to touch the floors, but I lost them anyway. Because there were so many people, our group got scattered by the halfway point to the Taj. A friend and I made the attempt to go inside to see the tomb but it was moving at an impossibly slow rate and we would have definitely crossed our hour limit if we stayed to see. One of the towers was in construction BUT NO MATTER. The building shone as usual, a foundation of white marble, glistening in the afternoon sun and standing as a reminder of undying love. Oh, the romance. The way my heart leaps when I hear the story behind the Taj Mahal’s creation. As if if jumps up to meet both the emperor’s and his wife’s spirits in the air. Siiiiike.
“Taj Mahal” translates into “Crown of the Palace.” Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its building to house the corpse of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to her 14th (!!!!!!!!!) child. Goddddd, I don’t know anyone that would willingly endure childbirth that many times—even if promised a white marble structure that would get admired by the world.
The detail with which the Taj was created is truly something to admire in person. And sadly, I didn’t get to focus on it too much. As I’m reading up on its architectural style, I’m realizing that there is a lot of calligraphic inscriptions, abstract art, and semiprecious gemstone decorations all over the building. It’s stand regally next to the Yamuna River, made from materials from all over India and Asia. The translucent white marble was brought from Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, the jade and crystal from China, the turquoise from Tibet, and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, the sapphire from Sri Lanka, the carnelian from Arabia. What a guy, that Shah Jahan . Gotta catch me one of those.
Despite only having an hour at the Taj, we were pretty tired by the day’s activities. Early breakfast, long journey, and visiting two marvelous places left us exhausted, but our day’s plan continued. We went to some marble warehouse place. Not really what you’d imagine a warehouse to be, though; it was quite fancy and expensive. We watched workers carefully make carvings on marble and inlay them with stone. I was too tired to really admire it. But I went to sleep that night with a happy heart (and belly).
The next day–our last day in Agra–involved a trip to Fatehpur Sikri. The city was built by Emperor Akbar and was the capital of the Mughal Empire for 10-some years, getting the title of “City of Victory.” This was the first panned city of the Mughals and includes palaces, public buildings, mosques, etc. of a certain architectural style. I really did like our visit here.
So here’s the end of my weekend. The last of our group travels. The end of week 7. After this trip, time FLEW. We went back to our classes and they started hitting us with final assignments. It was a mess. But even within that, I had so much happiness. I went on my first solo adventure. And then went on two more. :))))))