First Sunday in India! Taj Mahal is the only agenda on our activity list today as the trip to and fro takes 4 hours each!
I spent the first 2 hours reviewing some material in preparation for exams this week while admiring the scenery along the journey.
Here's how it looks like on the bus...
The land on each side of the road is vast but somehow thick smog covers the air above. I wonder if that's smog or morning dew though...
Something interesting along our drive is that a car somehow ended crashing into the road divider.
We passed by Agra Fort before reaching Taj Mahal and this is the best photo that I could take.
Another Streets of India shot. Pretty sad that the animals are rampaging through the rubbish waste.
Ah we saw a 9 star hotel along our way. :)
We took this battery-powered vehicle that brings us to the entrance of Taj Mahal.
We were privileged to be on the high-value ticket that gave us instant access to the attraction. You will understand why I say so when you see the photo below.
Here's the gate that brings us nearer to Taj Mahal. There are 22 white dome at the top that represents the number of years it took for construction. It is a mix of islamic and indian design representing by the writings and flowery art respectively.
Cute squirrels running around the walkway!
Random shot while we waited under the shade.
Ah pretty poor photography skills isn't it? Slanted photo :/
Taj Mahal is built under the decision of the 5th King of India for his 3rd wife who is a Persian. She was 19 and the King was 20 at the time they were married and she gave birth to 14 children but 8 were lost due to miscarriage. The wife was well-loved by the king for both her beauty and brains as she served as the personal advisor to the King and participated in court activities. As a promise to his wife, the King commenced the construction of Taj Mahal months after her passing at the age of 39.
The 3 buildings are built with teak wood, sandstone and marble and it was said that Taj is the only architecture structure that survived the earthquake due to the teak wood that was laid as the foundation based on the Italian technology.
Look at the sheer number of people queuing patiently under the blazing sun for their turn to entire the place where a replica of the tomb is situated. We were on the express queue and entering the viewing area took no more than 5 minutes. I am guilty I must say as these people took great effort to visit but we were given precedence as a delegate.
The actual tomb was moved away and a replica was constructed by the Indian Government 10 years ago as part of their plan to preserve it.
Here's how it looks like on the inside. It's funny that the experience is rather poor as all you hear is the constantly whistling and rushing by the guards where the people are constantly packed around the circle until it is full before you are moved out of the compound in a rush.
One part of the site undergoing repair work.
View at the back of Taj Mahal.
Another sight on the streets of India.
There's this dish that we have been eating that tastes like tofu but it's actually made from cottage-cheese. Unbelievable.
For the night, we gathered in a room with our friends from Philippines and played Truth and Dare till 12am. It's really heartwarming knowing that we managed to forge great friendships in a short span of 8 days! People are always happy to approach and interact with us and telling us how they miss having us on the same bus. :)