Just left the city of Agra and can I express what a mission it was to see this world wonder. After a 13 hour direct flight to india through Air India, and 3 hours of customs and luggage collection, and a 6 hour drive (we rented a driver) with a stop over in a shady trucker stop (called a dhaba) we finally arrived in Agra in the wee hours. The hotel I thought my husband booked through Expedia magically did not get booked because he was too last minute the night before our trip to handle this BIG task (sarcasm alert). So instead we drove around Agra on Christmas day and were rejected by 2 because they were full. Threes a charm I guess because the 3rd hotel "hotel chanayaka" had rooms available. This 3 star hotel was the equivalent to a minus 5 star in Canada, sketchy bathroom we had to request toilet paper and bedding that looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks, and dont get me started on the towels. Luckily I packed my own towels. After approx. 22 hours of travelling I would have rested my head just about anywhere. We went to sleep at 10pm and woke up at 12am thinking we had 8 hours of sleep, than went back to sleep to wake up to a dog fight at 3:30am. We eventually woke up at 6am for good and showered in cold water (I really missed home at this point, I love my showers). We headed for breakfast at 9am prior to our 5 minute drive to the Taj Mahal. After all this travelling to see the Taj Mahal I almost questioned why we would mission this far to spend 2 hours to see. I was beginning to think of the little family I have left in India we havent seen in a while and how much fun it would have been to go straight and visit them and do nothing but shop and travel in familiar SHORTER DISTANCE areas. Anyways we headed into the gates of the Taj Mahal and as we walked through the red brick archway there infront of us was a beautiful and breathtaking world monument whose intention of building it was exactly this, to make someones story infamous(all my tension and annoyance from travelling disappeared). As we walked with the tour guide who shared each important piece of history, I truly felt this place was magical. For someone to spend fortunes and 22 years building this monumental piece of architecture to keep the memory alive of his most loved wife - was a beautiful love story. Shah Jahan an emperor met Mumtaz Mahal and fell in love. He married her after five years and they were leading a very happy life. While giving birth to their last child, Mumtaz Mahal died due to some complications. A few years later Shah Jahan began building the world's most beautiful monument "Taj Mahal" in the memory of his wife.It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument, which is also said to be the last wish of Mumtaz Mahal.This building has truly made their love immortal.
I took the cheesy pictures (which I will post when I have more time in TO) infront of the Taj Mahal like I was holding it with my fingertips. What i felt quite timeless was knowing 27 years ago my parents were married and likely in Agra the same time I was as they were married Dec 11, 1983 and went on their honeymoon shortly after with my uncle and aunt who also got married a few days later. Although I was at the Taj Mahal with the love of my life I couldn't help but think of how young and excited my parents must have been about their future together and what was in store. My mom was heading to Canada once she got her Visa to a foreign country and would start a life with a man she met on her wedding day, and here they were 27 years ago starting it all. I also could see the pictures I looked at many times in their albums with my dads cool leather jacket and boots and my moms flawless beauty and hair pinned back. My pictures look like a traveller that was completely exhausted, nowhere near the flawless beauty that my mom looked like in her pics. Just thinking about it now my mom had quite the glow on her face and I realize I was born literally 9 months after my parents wedding - could Agra be my actual birthplace? lol Am I feeling a sudden attachement to this place because of this? Who knows...
We're heading to my husbands family home in Raikot just outside of a big city in Punjab called Ludhiana, than we are heading to my birth city AMRITSAR where I will get to see my favourite person in the whole world my BHUAJI (aka my dads sister) she is the cooliest, trendiest and modern aunt ever - and I love her dearly. I will post when I get to Amritsar and I will put up pictures from there of this experience or when I get back as I think that might be asking too much of me right now.
Stay tuned...and enjoy!