The White Wonder
The Taj Mahal. The reason tourists like ourselves pour into Agra. Hiring a rickshaw driver named Shaquille for the day, we headed first to an ancient fort, situated across theTaj Mahal by the Yarmuna River. Wandering through the huge fort, we admired the architecture and the view of the shrunken Taj Mahal in the distance.
As we left the fort, Shaquille broke the bad news to us. The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. Distraught, we settled for the next best thing and took a picture in front of a poster of the mausoleum and hopped a train from Agra, cursing ourselves for our poor planning.
Words can hardly describe the majesty of the Taj Mahal so I’ll just let these pictures do the talking.
After the sunset, we met back up with Shaquille and shared some chai at a roadside stand with his buddies. Climbing into the tuk tuk, Shaquille let me hop up front and drive a little bit amidst the bustling traffic. He then dropped us off at a large workshop where ornate Indian rugs are handmade. If you don’t watch closely it’s easy to miss the fingers of the experts working the loom tie knots and slide the miniscule knots into place. Each thread is a single knot so if one becomes loose, it does not unravel like something that is sewn. A 5’x7’ rug takes about 4 months to complete using this technique. The texture of these rugs is amazing and the designs are flawless.
Leaving the loom, we got a ride to the train station, bid Shaquille farewell, and hopped a train to Varanasi, our last stop before Nepal.