One highlight of our trip to India was certainly the visit to the Taj Mahal. The (love) story behind it’s construction, the details in the carvings inset into the enormous structure, the types of colorful cut stones used throughout, and it’s extensive garden location on the Yamuna River are all part of the captivating experience. Below you’ll find a few photos taken during our visit in February 2016.
Getting from the taxi parking area to the Taj Mahal, in itself was a fascinating adventure because we road on a covered cart led by a camel. Sam and Kyle are sitting inside of the cart (below).
Some how, a guide latched on to us, along with a photographer in the parking area and road with us on the camel cart. They both spoke English and were genuine in their connection with us, especially when Raymond needed to run back to the car to reclaim his wallet. I had opportunity to read the hands of our guide, the photographer and our camel cart driver. All were inspired with my interpretations of the line configurations in their Eastern hands.
I brought a copy of my book, intending to have a photo taken with me holding the book in the garden in front of the epic building.
Our guide handled the purchasing of our tickets into the property as well as hustling us through security. One glitch getting through security – snacks and my book! The snacks and my book were stuffed into and zipped up inside my purse. Both were promptly confiscated by security after the ex-ray machine revealed their identity. Our guide new how important it was to me to take my book inside. He told me to keep quite. He spoke in Hindi, making a hard negotiation for me to retain my book. Next thing I knew, after a 3rd security person had been engaged, our guide pushed the book back into my hands, told me to stuff it back in my purse and zip it up. “If you can get that purse zipped up, right now, you can keep your book with you throughout the tour.” He whispered, “They don’t want people to use the Taj as a promotional tool; taking photos with books or other articles. They are very strict about this rule.”
Okay, now that my book was smuggled inside the property, I schemed how to get the illegal photo taken. At just the right time, about 30 minutes into the tour, we looked around and observed that we were just far enough away from the security guards scattered throughout the grounds. Our guide said, “Now is the time, hurry!” I knew that meant, take your book out, lets get the photo, and return the book into your purse and keep it out of sight from then on!”
Mission accomplished! Here is the result of that instruction (photo below).
Below are a few more photos taken during our tour of the Taj Mahal.
Above, Raymond and I are in front of the several hundred-year-old Mosque, neighboring the Taj Mahal, that is still attended every Sunday. We met the prayer leader (who shook Raymond’s hand).
Inside the Mosque there is room for nine (9) women to pray on Sundays. We were there on a Monday otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have been permitted in. I took a moment to bow in prayer (above) and was immediately absorbed into an indescribable presence. The moment will be unforgettable.
Taj Mahal Feb 2016 for the PDF version including all photos