My second time at the Taj – felt like the first! The scene that strikes you does not change – the gleaming white marble visible through the arch of the entry gate, makes everyone gasp a little. The 4.5 hr trip from Delhi along bumpy roads and under foggy skies, now seems worth it. For the 15 students of Foster who made this trip, the fun was just starting.
The morning – subdued for most, except for Ben Brown who showed his expertise in bartering through bus windows. Taking a photo of a monkey on a stick apparently costs 500 rupees on the highways of India , negotiable to 50 rupees of course. As a lucky few dozed while others bounced around at the back of the bus and resilient some got through a novel even, the bus ran through the 200 km between New Delhi and Agra.
Getting down to business, our tour guide Ali gave us a fab tour of the world wonder talking about every which aspect of its architecture that has stood the test of time – 400 + years. He did offer me a lesson in Hindi too !! Taj – Crown, Mahal – Palace. i.e. Taj Mahal => Crown Palace. After a traditional group photo from one of the benches in front of the Taj, we headed on into the Taj itself. I think it was safe to say the whole group was awed not only at the size, but the splurging of emperors back then. The fact that a mosque replica was built on one side of the Taj just to maintain symmetry from the other side was just an example.
The way back was fun! After yet another subdued beginning traffic did bring out the best in most. Games and pit stops galore the team made it back in high spirits. After 2 weeks of hard work, the day at the Taj did prove a nice break and offered a relaxing (again, but for the traffic) day for everyone. Great way to close the trip and 2011…..
Merry Christmas everyone! and a Happy new year…..