Friday, February 6, 2009
50 rupees to anyone who can tell me what this is!
Giant bathtub, possibly used by an empress.
Hello, I'm in Agra now, home to the Taj Mahal. Sadly, the Taj is closed on Fridays so I will see it tomorrow, but today I walked over to the Agra Fort. It was built by an emperor in the 1500's and was the home to a Shah at one point. The grounds are really big, there is a lot of marble and red sandstone and it's really pretty. The Mughal emperor who had the Taj Mahal built for his wife was overthrown by one of his sons and imprisoned here at the fort where he eventually died. You can see the Taj Mahal from the fort (sort of, it's pretty smoggy) and the trusty guidebook says that he spent his last days "gazing wistfully at his Taj Mahal".
The room where I'm staying is larger than the last one, but there are a lot of mosquitoes. I spent the better part of yesterday evening murdering them one by one with my hefty guidebook. There is a nice rooftop with a view of the Taj though, so I can't complain too much.
Tomorrow evening I will take an 11 1/2 train ride to Allahabad. I requested a lower berth this time, because I had an upper berth on the last trip and it was comfortable for the first couple of hours, then I just really wanted to sit up without crouching. Or look out a window.
Maybe tomorrow I will have time to post pictures of the Taj Mahal, since there isn't much to do in Agra. I walked around town today and there are a lot of cows and pregnant dogs, monkeys climbing all over everything, dirt roads and rickshaw drivers. I did have a fantastic banana lassi yesterday and will probably have another later on today.
I think I am adjusting to India. When I first got here, I was a little overwhelmed with culture shock. Now that I'm a few days in, I can reflect and see that is what was going on with me. Traveling in India isn't so different from traveling in South America, actually. The one huge difference is that I can't speak Hindi, but then lots of folks speak English.
Well, I hope everyone likes the photos. I will try to put some of the Taj Mahal tomorrow.