Love can make you laugh and cry…and it can make you build the Taj Mahal. You’ll have to forgive me but the only expensive item I can give love is a branded T-Shirt.
Incidentally, the Filipino term for Love is “Mahal”. Taj Mahal means “Crown Palace” or the “Place of the Crown”. It is a tomb built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third and favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum.
It took 23 years to complete this beautiful masterpiece and the overall design of Taj Mahal incorporates traditions of Islamic, Persian, Hindu and earlier Mughal architecture. The tomb is the central attraction of the entire building.
We were not allowed to take a photo of the tomb, actually we were not allowed to take a single photo (while) inside Taj Mahal…so the next photo you will see is a product of someone violating the rule….lookie! sssh
The long queue outside Taj Mahal….hey people, you waited for hours and you don’t get to take a picture inside.. trust me!
Like many other places, Taj Mahal has its share of myths like – Shah Jahan got the hands of his sculptors and architects cut off so that they would never be able to build a monument as magnificent and beautiful as the Taj again and he even got their eyes pulled out so that they would never be able to witness anything bigger and more beautiful than the monument that they had built during their lifetime. (tajmahal.com)
When Shah Jahan died, he was also buried in the mausoleum next to Mumtaz Mahal. At present, Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World….AND…. I touched it hihihi.
UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES ON OUR WAY TO AGRA
We were told that the bus trip from New Delhi to Agra would take around 4 hours. We were deliriously excited that when we arrived at the terminal, we were greeted by sleeping buses and early morning cups of tea.
That was me looking like that girl on the Blair Witch Project documentary. Delhi can be extremely cold and extremely hot. This was around 7am but the temperature felt like 3am to me. A thoughtful weather check can really assist your overall planning when traveling. Thank God for long sleeves!
Delhi got the best Masala chai tea!
We made good friends at the terminal too. These people thought we are celebrities from Thailand. We made them believe we indeed are. Haha. We are good at being friendly. Boo 😛
Three hours later.
Tadaan. My first camel ride…by the look of Jony the camel, I believe it was easy for him. And not only that…
Seriously, who would ride an elephant under the heat of the sun? I know, I know, animals are best observed in their natural habitat.
All these animal riding happened inside a small park that was near the restaurant where we had our lunch. ~ bus lunch break
UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES DURING OUR STAY IN AGRA
The first thing we looked for upon arriving in Agra was WATER. It was way too hot but our excitement was still palpable. We head straight to our budget hotel, Siddharta, which is near the Western gate of Taj Mahal. People in the hotel were approachable and extremely helpful.
It was now time to change costumes and become half Filipinos, half Indians for a day.
I’d like to especially mention our friend Adinan. He became our official tour guide all of a sudden, inside Taj Mahal and around Agra (free of charge hehe). He first saw us inside a small shop exchanging nonsense jokes with the shop owner, using our unbelievable charms trying to get unbelievable discounts. We told Adinan the reason we wore full Indian costume was to avoid being charged “the foreigner price”. Sometimes tourist experience can cost too much. I believe our strategy didn’t work though. You cannot fake the “accent” ya ‘ol.
Tripods were not allowed inside Taj Mahal so Adinan was a really good help since Mysh and I were already tired taking pictures of each other. We made lots of friends and most of them were vegetarians. Indians are generally happy people and like most Filipinos I know, they are familiar with the term “piktyur piktyur”.
Some of the people we met invited us to their houses and some of them just want our photos bwahahar 😛
We didn’t know we were so important. Haha
The Wedding Crashers
Adinan brought us to an Indian wedding celebration. It was our first time to attend a wedding, uninvited. Adinan himself wasn’t invited and in no way connected to the married couple. We were scared but people understood we were foreigners eager to witness a different wedding culture. The young crowd invited us to show off our dance moves. It doesn’t look like it but we were dancing to the rhythm of Sheila Ki Jawani. I think we killed it. LELS. That experience was fantabulous! Clean Fun.
The beautiful bride and groom with those two strangers who were obviously not in their proper attire. The secret behind catching everyone’s attention.
Adinan also brought us to their house to experience Mehndi. This was around 3:30 in the morning and the woman doing the Mehndi to us is about to get married by 9am on the same day. The term ‘thick-skinned’ doesn’t even begin to do us justice, you know.
Lookie we got to wear beautiful Indian sari (saree). I believe these sarees are priced out of my comfort zone, it’s good to be in it for 30 minutes.
Her favorite color is green, give her green.
Our visit to Taj Mahal was such a wonderful and moving experience. It used to be just a dream and a part of a bucket list. It’s surreal to be standing in a place where a lot of people wish to go and a lot of dreams come true. I fell in love with India too. There were just so many good and sad memories that allowed me to look at life in a completely different way. I always knew that in my past life, I was either a german shepherd or an Indian.
NAMASTE YA’ OL