North India

3 Jul

I wasnt that young so i do remember some of the places we went in a little detail. A small part of my heart still remains in Kashmir, the boat house and shikara peacefully floating on Dal Lake, the wonderful Kashmiri people who treated us like family, the sound of the azan one after another from the hundreds of different mosques, the cold climate during summer, picking fresh strawberries and berries from the trees and popping them into my mouth, the mountains with snow flowing from its pinnacle at Gulmarg, the good looking people (mostly men because i dont remember seeing many women, i think they were hiding out). Irony of it all, i was running a high fever and having terrible cold when we were there, which i guess was due to the acclimatisation since we travelled from the 40 degrees celciusNew Delhi.

Speaking ofNew Delhi, what comes to mind is how busy and dirty it was. The traffic was horrendous. The hotel we resided in was great, with its spectacular looking lobby and rooms overlooking gardens, a wide spread of buffet breakfast from continental to indian breakfast.

Lastly ofAgra, it is not the worst of the three cities but it just flowed this way. Its gorgeous, the Taj Mahal of course. We had to take a battery operated bus into the area and then walked through the large gates. The reason was to maintain the colour of the marble which the Taj is made of and is bringing it billions of revenue for the Indian government. We took 5 family photos in front of the Taj and paid for it because it was by this prof photographer. I guess today, we can just use our own camera. *suddenly reminded me of how close me and my brothers used to be* During that time, we only had a normal film camera so there wasnt opportunity to snapped at everything, i guess then the memory is only in parts.

I remember having to remove our footwear or wrap it up with plastic bag. How cold the marble was when i my fingertips felt it. The intricate design and architecture, breathtakingly amazing. I think the most memorable part was our guide, with his dramatic tale of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz.

What struck me about the Taj Mahal was how huge it looked from outside but inside was so much smaller, dark, with a little square shaped area with a flight of stairs leading to the basement which was gated and locked because people would ‘pray’ there and cry and wail and do what such people do at such places. There were coins strewn around inside the gated area which is believed to be where Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz were buried.

From there, we walked to the Red Fort which was where Shah Jahan was imprisoned because of something that happened in the Mughal empire at that time, oh something about Shah Jahan wanting so spend a large sum of money to build a Taj Mahal made of black marble for himself and his son imprisoned him in the red fort from where he could still see Taj Mahal (see his mumtaz) from his room at the top.

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