Sorry for the delay, life. got. busy…and still is!
Wow! Are you a hopeless romantic like me? Let me guess: You like those romantic fiction novels that keep you so engrossed that your love life unfolds vicariously through the author’s manuscript? Well, let me tell you about my love story experience in New Dehli.
I had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World! I bet you didn’t know that THIS is the love story experience that I had the opportunity to embrace. History, I give you permission to repeat! (I digress).
Before going to Delhi, I sat in contemplation thinking-What am I getting all excited about when I don’t know the back story of this historical mausoleum that everyone is raving about. Of course, I’d heard of it and had even learned about it way back when…but I guess I was sleep during the love story component. After some very basic research, I concluded that the story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal was indeed an act of pure love, dedication and committment.
I won’t give away too much at all…just enough to keep you interested to learn more and to hopefully visit during your next trip to India!
In 1631, the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, requested that the remains of his deceased wife be cherished in this epic structure to capture the memory of her life. Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan, passed away after giving birth to their 14th child! Wow! This caught me right there. In this day, do we hear such acts of commitment toward a spouse? All in all, it took over 20 years, 20,000 workers and over 1,000 elephants to finalize the development of what we know today as the Taj Mahal.
The purpose of this blog is not to share a detailed history lesson, but to give you some of the back story. You can find out specific details online or by checking out this website for further information.
Ok, back to my amazing experience.
Surprisingly, there were a lot of locals there and not the expected floods of tourists. Either way, this place attracts thousands of people daily.
Going inside was a completely different story. The line was literally wrapped around the building with people in anticipation to view the hype around this historical mausoleum. I was apart of that line, until we figured out that since we paid for our ticket, we could jump the line and move directly to the front. Well, this didn’t really help because people were everywhere. I mean we were literally back to back with the people in front of us. It was complete chaos! There was no organization to the inside traffic. Everybody knew just to walk straight ahead. I managed to get out of the congestion to the middle where the tombs are located. From my understanding, the bodies have since been removed.
The structure was absolutely amazing. From the marble walls to the inscribed calligraphy on the arched entrances, it is priceless.
Once we made it out safely, we managed to take a few pictures by the Yamuna river, which is the second largest tributary in North India.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the Taj Mahal. I definitely enjoyed exposing my son to yet another Wonder of the World. Although I don’t think he understands the depth of what he’s experiencing, I pray that as he gets older, he will learn to appreciate his experiences while living overseas with his globetrottin’ mama!
After the Taj Mahal, we had the opportunity to cook with a local family. Our meal was very traditional, which included a vegetarian medley with Naan bread and warm tea (with milk, of course). I truly enjoyed it. We found this opportunity through a local travel package and is very common, especially in the Agra area.
The family was very nice, pleasant and welcoming. The food was delicious or else I’d have some pictures of the final results. After our meal, we sat around with the family and eventually had tea time.
Then, it was time to move on. We needed to head back to New Dehli. Wait! We couldn’t leave without a quick game of Badminton in the middle of the street with the local boys!
The neighbors were quite friendly, too!
Oh, and my favorite welcoming hosts!
Then, we said our goodbyes to our host family for the day. They were wonderful!
On our way to the next destination, we had the opportunity to see a bunch of random but epic moments!
The next stop was a local orphanage in the city. What a humbling experience. My friend and I were really motivated to expose our sons to an orphanage experience because of their lack of awareness of how other children’s lives are in different parts of the world and even in the United States. The boys had a hard time digesting what life would be like without regular play time, I-pads, snacks that are readily available and the opportunity to travel around the world. We reminded them of how blessed their lives are and how their experiences in life thus far have been amazing! I think this was truly a humbling and insightful experience for them.
The staff members were all so welcoming as they allowed us to peruse their facilities. This was truly a place filled with people blessed by God because of their sweet and loving spirits.
If you ever have a chance to visit Agra and enjoy volunteering, this is a great start. There are plenty of orphanages in India to research and they could sure use the help, love and attention.
After all these exciting adventures, it was time to head back to New Dehli from Agra! We made one quick stop for chips and pop (or soda depending on which part of the world you are from) on the side of the road.
What a full day of exploration, learning, discovering and insight. I truly enjoyed Day#2 of my India experience.
I promise to post Day #3 expeditiously. Life has a funny way of consuming your time…IF you allow it! In this season, I’m working on a productive work/life/writing balance. 🙂
Until next time, be blessed and inspired!