Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taj Mahal

There are a few iconic sights that just have to be seen in real life to be fully appreciated and the Taj Mahal is certainly one of these for me. No matter how many pictures you’ve looked at, when you come through the arch and see it … well … just floating serenely before you – it takes your breath away. Somehow the crowds just don’t matter and, fortunately, there were far fewer than I’d been led to imagine. As you get closer, you can see the intricate carving and other detail and marvel at the workmanship but it’s that first long-distance glimpse of it that will stay with me. We did the usual touristy things – took a picture of its reflection in the water and posed, plaintively, a la Princess Diana. The inside was a bit of a disappointment - it was very badly lit and smelt of urine - but you only have to go outside and take another look to be re-invigorated.

We had a rather tortuous 6-hour journey home but were entertained for a couple of hours by these boys who gave us, and the rest of traffic jam, an impromptu dance recital off the back of the lorry and in the road behind it. They had just walked a couple of hundred kilometres to Haridwar to pray to the god Shiva (as you do on a weekend) and were celebrating their return.

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