So it wouldn’t be a blog about India if I didn’t write about visiting the Taj Mahal, right? Pretty sure it’s a requirement before they allow you to leave thecountry. I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said more eloquently by far more esteemed writers. What I will say is that the Taj is not overrated- it’s truly stunning. Can’t say I want a tomb like this myself but the white marble is eerie and beautiful and elegant. You take off your shoes to walk around and there is something incredible about feeling that 17th century marble under your toes. Or was that some weird exotic fungus I was feeling? Hard to tell. But what’s a little tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) among friends?
We encountered many Indian tourists who felt that we were an attraction unto ourselves. Most would simply take our picture. The more bold ones would rush up and herd us toward their families, saying “you take snaps with us, madam. Snaps please.”
At one point a couple thrust their (hugely fat and adorable) baby into my arms and asked for “snaps.” I like to imagine the caption in that album: “baby’s first white girl photo.”
My other favorite story had to be from a kid outside the Taj who was hawking his wares. Most of the kids were selling kitschy Taj-related trinkets. This lil’ entrepreneur, however, was selling what appeared to be a rat. I had so many questions for him that I couldn’t communicate in my limited Hindi: was there a demand for this product- had any tourist actually bought a rat before? Why would I purchase a rat when even an inexperienced rat gatherer could easily pluck one off the streets for free? In the end I had to agree that, yes, the little vermin was a bargain at 30 rupees (~50 cents) but, no, I would have to defer a purchase at the present time.
We also went to a few other historical sites in Agra: Agra fort and the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah. The latter was probably my favorite stop of the day- calmer and home to some gorgeous mosaics. But without further ado- more pictures: