The Taj Mahal
Trip Start Jun 12, 2009
34Trip End Jul 15, 2009
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We were picked up by a prearranged rental car and driver (Mukesh) at 08:30 for the drive to Agra.
The drive was a revelation of India's overcrowding and poverty, with people living in make-shift housing such as tent-like structures and thatched huts.
Traffic was heavy and we arrived in Agra at 13:30. The first three or four hotels that we visited were full and we ended up having to settle for the Hotel Pushp Villa, which was merely adequate.
After checking in, we then went to the Pizza Hut for a late lunch. Our choice of this restaurant was more for trying to keep healthy than for the exquisite cuisine. In spite of our selection, Diane nevertheless got violently sick when we got back to the hotel at 15:00.
We wanted to take a nap, but I was too tired and Diane was too sick to sleep.
At 18:00 hours, the driver picked us up and drove us across the Jamuna River to view the Taj Mahal from the back side at sunset. This was an awesome view, but the drive to and from the Taj itself was equally fascinating, as the streets were full of Indian life.
HISTORY: The Taj Mahal was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. The Emporer was hearth broken when Mumtaz, to whom he had been married for seventeen years, died in child birth in 1631 after producing 14 children.
Construction of the Taj began that same year and was not completed until 1653. Workers were recruited not, only from all over India, but from Central Asia (total 20,000 people). Experts were brought in from Europe (French & Italians) to work on its decorations. The main architect was Isa Khan, who came from Shiraz in Iran..
We then returned to the hotel for a night of rest.