Friday, September 7, 2007

Delhi and Pictures.

So Anna and I took a few days off of work and went to Delhi and Agra to see the sights. It was a great 4 days and we saw a lot of stuff, including the Taj Mahal! It was amazing.

Me the night before our sightseeing in the hotel in Delhi, reading up on the sights I wanted to see!

Me at Jama Masjid, one of the larger mosques in Delhi.

The Jama Masjid Mosque.

Me and Anna at the mosque.

Me and Anna at the Delhi Fort. You can only go inside a small portion of it because the troops still use it has a Fort.

The Raj Ghat, the place where Ghandi was cremated.

Me, India Gate, and a John Deere Rickshaw. (OK, so it isn't a real John Deere rickshaw. The reason they are green and yellow is because Delhi is becoming a "Green" city and are starting to use clean fuel in all city transportation. But still it looks like a John Deere rickshaw to me.) And kudos to Anna for getting the perfect picture!

Me at Qutb Minar, the first Mosque in India.

Me and Anna at Qutb Minar. It was built out of old parts of Hindu temples that were destroyed.

Me and Anna with the minaret in the background. It is the tallest minaret in the world standing at 237.8 feet high.

Me and the minaret.

So after our morning tour of Delhi, we drove (in our ac car!) to Agra. It is 200 km which works out to be about 125 miles. It took us about 5 hours to get there (this is India!) And when we got to Agra we were greeted by the monsoon. We had to go under a downed tree...

And went through flooded streets! (You can kinda tell in this photo that the water in front of the car is in fact the street and we are driving through water that is about knee high!) But we got to our home stay and had a lovely meal before going to bed early because we had to wake up early so we could go and see the Taj Mahal the next day!

Me at 6.30 in the morning! (This was even after 2 cups of coffee!) I'm hoping at this point that this Taj Mahal thing is really worth it!

And it is! This is where I was standing when I saw the entire Taj Mahal, in person!

And this was my first glipse of the Taj Mahal! So beautiful and sunny!

Me and Anna at the Taj Mahal!

Me at the President's Bench. (It is the bench where all the important politicians always get their pictures taken when they visit. This also marks the spot up to where Bollywood films can shoot their movies. They can't actually dance around the real Taj Mahal like they do in many films. (Those are the kind of questions that I was asking our tour guide. I'm pretty sure he thought I was crazy!))

These are the stupid foot covers that they make you wear when you are actually in the Taj Mahal.

The beautiful Taj Mahal! But I do have to say that as impressive as the Taj Mahal is outside, it isn't that great inside. It's kinda like the Disney World Castle. It is so wonderful, amazing, and spectacular on the outside and then you get inside and it isn't that great and there isn't anything to really see and it kinda smells like pee. But besides all of that, it was am amazing feeling to finally be there and see it in person since I've wanted to see it ever since I can remember.

The Taj Mahal isn't all there is to see in Agra. We then went to Fatehpur Sikri, which used to be the captial of the Moghul empire. This is me and Anna in front of the central pillar of Diwan-i-Khas. Basically, the king at the time was very fond of all religions. He had a Muslim wife, a Christian wife, and a Hindu wife (the Hindu wife was his favorite, not because she was Hindu but because she gave him a son.). He liked to have debates with men of religion from all faiths. He used to sit on top of this pillar and have discussions with them. He also started his own religion that combined all of his favorite aspects of most major religions. The religion didn't live on because when the King died, his son didn't agree with his father's religion, thus it died.

Even though the king was religious, this didn't seem to stop him from having his fun. He used to play hide and seek with his slave girls in this building. This is me playing hide and seek!

Also in Agra, we went to see the Agra Fort. This fort was way more impressive to me than Delhi's Red Fort. This fort had a moat where they used to keep crocodiles and had a drawbridge that could only be opened by elephants and even had 4 HUGE gates and walls you had to go through before reaching a long walk way where they used to throw hot oil and tar on you if you (the enemy) even got that far. But even with all of that (and a very impressive view of the Taj Mahal!) I was most impressed with the bath tub. That is right, this is me with a Moghul bath tub! And it is portable! So anytime the king wanted to go anywhere, an entire team of slaves, along with an elephant, where put in charge of bringing the bath tub. It's way better than the kitchen sink!

You may be thinking to yourself (Julie), "Why are you taking a picture of 2 men sitting on the roadside Christa? That isn't that cool." This is not a picture of 2 men sitting on the road. It is a picture of one man (on the left) and his pet monkey (on the right)! Right before this picture was taken, the monkey had jumped up onto the car and scared me half to death. We were stopped at the border so our driver could pay the taxes and this is what we saw!

The Al's Oasis of India! So we stopped at this place, which is located exactly half way between Agra and Delhi to use the bathroom and take a break. I went inside and it is totally like Al's in Chamberlain! You can buy a whole bunch of overpriced crap that you think you need but don't really!!!! (Case in point: I paid 60 rupees for a Twix bar.)

I saw this music store and liked their decoration! (Don't get any ideas Mom!!!)

And of course, a picture of Dwight. This time with the air conditioning in our room. I turned on the ac full blast and dug out the blanket they gave us and got to snuggle up under my blanket. It was a great 2 nights!!!! (PS: you may be wondering "Christa, why didn't you get a picture of Dwight with the Taj Mahal? I thought that was why you brought him along?" Well I have a funny story about that. I took Dwight all the way to Delhi and Agra with me. (He has been everywhere in India that I have!) But the Taj Mahal has this crazy rule that you can't take anything in with you. No iPods, cell phones, cigarettes, candy, gum, water, toys, nothing! Basically just a camera. And Dwight counted as a toy. I was crushed. So while I enjoyed the beautiful Taj Mahal, Dwight stayed in the stinky locker room where I had to pay 10 rupees to get him back. Oh well. I'll be back, with Dwight, as soon as the Indian Government lifts the 'no toy policy.' Mark my words!)

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!


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