When you are this close, you can’t not ….

… visit the Taj Mahal.  It is only about a 3.5 hour drive from Delhi along a rather boring expressway (motorway or highway is the equivalent depending which country you live in) to the city of Agra.  The Taj Mahal reveals itself as you cross the bridge and head into the far side of the city.  I could have got the train but I decided to go by road instead.

All I can say is WOW.  Pretty spectacular and breath taking, and I was not there on a sunny day where photos turn out far better.  It’s an amazing place purely for the story behind it (that’s the romantic in me) but I do feel for the lady, having 14 kids is a bit excessive.  Read all the details including the inspiration for the building here.

I took a bunch of photos, here are the best of them.

First view of the Taj Mahal from the entrance gate.  I thought I was being pretty smart framing the Taj Mahal in this archway, but then I learned everyone does it.  Clearly I am not as smart as I thought!

First view of the Taj Mahal from the entrance gate. I thought I was being pretty smart framing the Taj Mahal in this archway, but then I learned everyone does it. Clearly I am not as smart as I thought.

A few of the walkway, gardens and ponds from the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal itself.

A few of the walkway, gardens and ponds from the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal itself.

I dropped all rules and had my photo taken with the infamous building in the background.

I dropped all rules and had my photo taken with the infamous building in the background.

No machinery or any form of electronics are allowed on the grounds.  These gardeners cut the grass with an old fashioned push mower with a difference - this one is a pull and push.

No machinery or any form of electronics are allowed on the grounds. Security is very very tight actually.  These gardeners cut the grass with an old fashioned push mower with a difference – this one is a pull and push mower rather than just a plain old push mower.

As you face the Taj Mahal, the mosque is to your left, facing Mecca of course.  there are no microphones needed for the call to prayer, the acoustics are that good.  This photo is where the Iman stands when calling people to prayer, facing the Taj Mahal.

As you face the Taj Mahal, the mosque is to your left, facing Mecca of course. There are no microphones needed for the call to prayer, the acoustics are that good. This photo is where the Iman stands when calling people to prayer, facing the Taj Mahal.

The beautiful arches of the men's prayer hall with tiling to denote where the prayer mats are to go.

The beautiful arches of the men’s prayer hall with tiling to denote where the prayer mats are to go.

The women's area in the prayer hall had only room for about 9 women.  Women apparently don't usually pray at the mosque, they tend to pray at home.

The women’s area in the prayer hall had only room for about 9 women. Women apparently don’t usually pray at the mosque, they tend to pray at home.

An idea of the detail on the Tajj Mahal's marble.  Below is one large piece of marble with the floral design carved in relief.  The upper part design is made by embedding precious and semi-precious stones onto the marble.  I thought it was painted on first, but it's inlaid - pretty spectacular!

An idea of the detail on the Taj Mahal’s marble. Below is one large piece of marble with the floral design carved in relief. The upper part design is made by embedding precious and semi-precious stones onto the marble. I thought it was painted on first, but it’s inlaid – pretty spectacular!

I tried to show the immensity of the building in this photo.

I tried to show the immensity of the building in this photo.

I dunno what it is, but rural women seem to be attracted to me.  This group had traveled from northern Rajasthan to visit the Taj Mahal for the first time in their lives.  Their trip was sponsored by some NGO whose name I could not catch.

I dunno what it is, but rural women seem to be attracted to me. This group had traveled from northern Rajasthan to visit the Taj Mahal for the first time in their lives. Their trip was sponsored by some NGO whose name I could not catch.

These women look rather serious in these photos, but once I showed them the photo after the shot was taken, they laughed so hard!  And could not conceal their delight!

These women look rather serious in these photos, but once I showed them the photo after the shot was taken, they laughed so hard! And could not conceal their delight!

These women look like they have had very hard lives, and probably are younger than they look.  The lady with the white shirt in this photo, laughed from her toes when she saw a photo of herself, so much so it started a whole laugh-fest amongst the group - it made me happy

These women look like they have had very hard lives, and probably are younger than they look. The lady with the white shirt in this photo, laughed from her toes when she saw a photo of herself, so much so it started a whole laugh-fest amongst the group – it made me happy

I hung around the gardens for some time, I found it a very peaceful place besides the many tourists.  Actually, it was the most foreign tourists I had seen since my arrival in India.  Most visitors were Indians though, seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time.  Well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Delhi.

About Kate Coffey

After 25+ years in the investment management industry, I packed in my job and spent 2014 living and working in Nepal and Bangladesh, and visited some other places in between. It took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and it's people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Sanga foothills. Since 2014, I have continued my warm relationship with SIRC and worked closely with my friends there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes to date. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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One Response to When you are this close, you can’t not ….

  1. bkmiec says:

    Glad you dropped the rules, love the photos you’ve included here including the Taj Mahal nestled in the entry archway! And the women, and accompanying stories 😉 Wonderful.

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