January 11-12, Agra, India

  We flew back to Chengdu, then on to Jaipur, India 4 hours and 40 minuets away. We had originally expected to land at Agra, but the airport runway was under construction. Our stay in Jaipur was spectacular, including entering the hotel under a shower of red rose petals, elephant polo, camels, horses with riders in colonial dress. Our hotel room was almost the size of one whole floor of our condo.

Early the next morning, we traveled by bus 4.5 hours from Jaipur to Agra and settled into our hotel. That afternoon we visited the Taj Mahal, built by the Shah Jahan in honor of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Muhal who is contained within a tomb in the middle of the interior courtyard. The Shah is entombed beside her in a larger tomb.

To return to Jaipur, we were on the bus by 0500 for the 4.5 hours of beeping at slow vehicles, swerving from lane to lane – the white line seems to be only a suggestion. So much noise that I was prompted to ask whether a hearing test was required for a driver’s license.



  Looking back at the park entrance.






  Yes we were there!










  Detail of the entrance to the inner court.










Detail of one corner showing the intricate carving.









  Carved bas relief and inlaid marble. Agra is a popular tourist destination for marble inlaid furniture and other objects. We received a “pillow gift” of coasters and a box, both with marble inlay.









  Indian tourists with saris.










  Before supper some of us were taken across the river behind the Taj Mahal to a garden which is part of the greater park. This garden was contemplated to be a site by the Shah Jahan for a black Taj for another on of his wives. His son arrested him and put him into a fort near to the Taj Mahal where the Shah died.


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