Taj Mahal, Saving the best for last!!

Trip Start Mar 06, 2011
Trip End Apr 29, 2011

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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Sunday, March 20, 2011

It was quite an early start for us this morning as we get ourselves dressed and organised by 6:00am outside the hotel.   We are off to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise and are really excited even though we are still half asleep.  Our driver picks us up with our tour guide Nishan and we make our way to the parking area of the Taj Mahal.  As we wait a couple of minutes for a little tour bus to take us to the entrance gates, there is a buzz of excitement and people everywhere as we  all wait for the sun to rise.  My guide mentions the gates will not open until sunlight hits the Taj Mahal, so until then we must queue up into two lines, men and women in preparation for security checks and pat downs.  We have been in the queue for about 10 minutes and I look behind me and the line has extended at least 100 meters long behind me, it's no surprise the Taj Mahal is the second most photographed Wonder of the World.  The gates open and we enter the outer area  of the Taj and walk toward the main entrance gate where I can see a portion of the palace, Nishan explains the history of the gate, I listen but can not wait to walk through it.  My guide is finally finished and we immediately walk through it and wow, the view is even better than the pictures.  Our guide proceeds to explain the history as we walk up and around the Taj.  He is done and asks how long we would like to walk around, we say at least an hour knowing the sun will be to hot after that and the kids haven't had any breakfast yet.  We pick a nice shaded spot and just relax and take it all in, it's amazing to think this building of love took 22 years to build with 20,000 labourers, while using  white marble and precious stones. After snapping around 200 photo's with the kids and ourselves we start to head back to the gates where our tour guide awaits us, we start to walk backwards, as we can not turn our back to this building.  We head back to the bus and as per all other monuments we get hit by hawkers, but I don't even respond to them, as I'm still thinking of this beautiful builiding.  Eventually we make it to the hotel and the manager greets us and explains they are organising a private holi colour festivity in the private gardens of the hotel for employees and guests.  I tell him about my fear of Zinije's allergies, he tells me that they will only use colour made out of vegetables which will be safe and it will be just a little colour on the cheeks, it sounds good to us so we agree.   As we walk outside to the gardens,  we can hear a drum beating, there are people covered in colour dancing, before we even have a chance to turn around we are approached greeted with a happy Holi and painted with powder.  The kids are scared and hide behind ZInije and I as we get some powder on our cheeks and forehead.  We sit around and meet others from the hotel and I see Arion is interested in the colour, so I swipe my finger from my cheek and get him.  He resists at first and then says he wants the colour green, so I go to get the green powder and before I know it we are swamped and get bombarded with colours, which Arion and Lisiana start to accept.  It was a lot of fun and we felt fortunate to celebrate this day with the employees of the hotel.   After our fun we clean up, have lunch and make our way back to Delhi in record time, it normally takes 5 hours, but due to the Holi festival we made it in 3 hours.  Next on our list of countries is Switzerland, we've thoroughly enjoyed our trip in India and now look forward to returning to Arion's birth place, Lausanne.
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Chris S on

got to say dude that India is definitely the way to go on the way to Europe. Helene and I are both convinced to go there now. you've selected great stopovers. Great stuff.

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