Tag Archives: taj mahal

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye…….

My dear friend from college put out a request on Facebook to see who might be interested in taking her daughter’s Flat Elizabeth on an adventure.

If you have never been entrusted with a Flat Stanley and do not have any idea what I am talking about, you should really consider what kind of friend you have been. For those of us who are trustworthy and creative and just spectacular in general, sometimes our friends will send us a Flat Stanley (or other cutout doll named after their child).  There is a children’s book about a boy named Stanley who gets smushed by a blackboard and accidentally sealed in an envelope and he ends up on a grand adventure. And some teachers think it is a great idea for kids in their class to create their own cutout doll and send him/her on his/her own grand adventure.

It is a really fun way for the kids to learn about the world.

Being so competitive willing to help another mother out, I raised my hand immediately. And, no I did not knock three other mothers down in the process – remember it was a virtual competition – I behaved myself quite nicely. After all, I am a civilized competitor – but I might have shouted “me, me, me” into the web-o-sphere once or twice. Maybe. And maybe not. But maybe.

In fact, lots of people offered (to no avail) to play tour guide to Flat Elizabeth. My friend is a delightful person and so it makes sense that a lot of friends would offer to help her. And I am not at all suggesting that they are losers in the Flat Elizabeth campaign – but you can see where she ended up. 😉

On a slow train to Ranthambore – the tiger preserve in India. Oh, yes, in case you have forgotten, India is where “I” live. Flat Elizabeth came to visit me! Yahoo! Not the other losers friends who offered to help out. I’m just sayin – I won, I won. tee hee.

She was a delightful travel companion. She didn’t each much and never had to stop for potty breaks. She didn’t even fight with her siblings – of course, that might have something to do with the fact that she does not have any siblings – but she did not fight once. And, yes, she is absolutely adorable. My friend friend’s daughter  is no slacker. She would never send a ragtag Flat Elizabeth to visit.

So Elizabeth went on a tiger safari and saw real tigers.

She went to an Indian classroom and found her initial on the board.

She saw forts and monkeys and learned a lot about the emperors of India.

She also rode a camel and an elephant.

She played in a band.

The only snafu that we hit was that security was tight at the Taj Mahal and they would not let dolls in. Yes, I know you would think the real threat would be guns, knives, or other expl*sives. But apparently, dolls are also on the no-go list. I tried as hard as I could to get them to change their minds. I explained it was for a school project – that Flat Elizabeth is really not a terr*rist and meant no harm to the Indian people. But it seems to have more to do with advertising – they do not want people taking pictures of the Taj with dolls and using them for advertisements. And, yes, I did my best to explain that in the west, we do not consider a piece of paper a doll. No offense intended to Flat Elizabeth – as I mentioned, she is the bestest Flat Elizabeth e.v.e.r –  but she hasn’t actually been offered a modeling career and her intentions were purely academic.

But we did not let that stop us. We found a picture of the Taj and took her picture in front of it and checked the Taj Mahal off our list.

She also had her picture taken with a member of the royal family.

Okay, now you are just being picky. He was a member of the royal family and he is sadly no longer with us – but once we stretched our imagination with the Taj Mahal, anything went. So, yes, that is a picture of her with a king. Truth be told, I think he was actually flirting with her. Don’t laugh – they have a lot in common you know – being made of paper is just one of the fine qualities they shared. Although I think she is from better stock than he is – or was.

She even wore a makeshift sari.

She also got all the diet coke she wanted. Shhhhh. Don’t tell my friend that part. But we loaded her up on caffeine.

Flat Elizabeth also got to stay in a palace. And enjoyed every second of the royal treatment.

And her bath at the end of the day was nothing short of divine.

Somewhere along the line, poor Flat Elizabeth lost an eye. I have sworn myself to secrecy on this one – mostly because I have no idea how it happened. But my dear friend understands that traveling in India can be dangerous. She has assured me that she knows of a very reputable eye surgeon in the U.S. who will keep it all on the down low.

Unfortunately I did not take a picture of her with only one eye because I did not want any evidence of the mishap should I be asked to testify later simply forgot. But I assure you, she was the cutest dang one-eyed “doll” e.v.e.r.

All the votes are in and it is o.f.f.i.c.i.a.l. – I am the best Flat Elizabeth hostess ever. Me, Me, Me.

My friend was so grateful that she sent this note…

Dear Queen of all things Flat Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for opening your heart and home to Flat Elizabeth. Your adventures with her far exceeded our highest expectations. You are just amazing. Our project will be so much better than anyone else’s. You are a rock star. It is as simple as that. We are hereby nominating you to the highest order of Flat Elizabethness and crown you supreme hostess and tour guide. It is with humble hearts and grateful friendship that we thank you for all that you have done for us. Even Mother Teresa herself could not have done such justice to this project.

Okay – what it really said was …

Dear A Reason 2 Write

Flat Elizabeth had a great time. Thanks.

Oh sure, the real version was more toned down than what I imagined it might be. But I know in my heart the Academy will be calling soon. Don’t doubt me. 😉

Humuyan’s Tomb………

If you are visiting Delhi, please make plans to visit Humuyan’s Tomb. I think it is fabulous, especially if you will not have time to go see the Taj Mahal in Agra.

It costs about $10 to get in – yes Indians are (much) cheaper – but kids 15 and under are free.

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This is a smaller tomb – not the big one – not yet.

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And then there are some cool doorways and doors…

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There are a lot of really fabulous walls too.

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And finally, Humuyan’s tomb…….

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Yes, that’s what I’m talking about! Magnificent!

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So it’s worth the trip.

The India Gate…………..

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http://india.gov.in/knowindia/indiagate.php – this is the website where I got the following details about the India Gate. I quoted the site directly.

“India Gate, an important monument of the city, is a memorial built in commemoration of more than 80,000 Indian soldiers who were killed during World War I. The monument is an imposing 42 meters high arch and was designed by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens. India gate was earlier named All India War Memorial. The design of India gate is almost similar to its French counterpart war memorial, the Arc-de-Triomphe.

The building is made of red stone that rises in stages into a huge molding. On top of the arch, INDIA is written on both sides. Names of over 70,000 Indian soldiers are inscribed on the walls of the monument in whose memory it is built. There is a shallow domed bowl at the top, which was intended to be filled with burning oil at special occasions.

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At the base of the India gate there is another memorial, the Amar Jawan Jyoti that was added after independence. This eternal flame was lighted in commemoration of the unknown soldiers who laid their lives to serve this nation.

The lush green lawns, Children Park and the famous boat club around the place make it a perfect picnic spot. Cool evening breeze near the fountains of India gate attract hundreds of visitors daily. In the evenings, India gate is illuminated with number of lights around it that gives it a magnificent appeal. Standing near the base of the monument one can have a good view of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The beautifully lit up monument provides a memorable background against the darkening sky. Even in daylight, the stretch between India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan offers a splendid view.

Every year on 26th January India gate stands witness to the Republic Day parade where latest advancements of defence technology is displayed. The parade is also a good platform to have a glimpse at the colourful and diverse cultural heritage of India as artists from all over the country perform on the occasion.”

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Another question for my Indian readers – where are the t-shirt vendors at all these monuments. Seriously, someone needs to get busy screen printing. I would have bought a t-shirt with the Taj Mahal on it for my kids, one with the Amber Fort, and one of the India Gate. Throw in some tie-dye shirts and I would get some for the whole family. Someone could make a boatload of money – and yes, I will gladly accept a kickback on the profits for sharing the idea. Or free t-shirts. Or, both.

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The Golden Triangle…………

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this map is from maps of India

When coming to Northern India – must people are recommended to travel the Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra (where the Taj Mahal is), and Jaipur. Do you see where this is going………………….

The Girlfriend’s Guide to the Taj Mahal…..

There is a book called the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy – it is supposed to fill you in on all the little details that people might forget or be unwilling to tell you while you are pregnant. Consider this your girlfriend’s guide to the Taj Mahal.

Before you go to visit the Taj Mahal, read a little about its history. Our guide was fantastic but he had a heavy accent. It was very helpful that I knew some of the names and places he was saying. I had to listen very carefully to him to understand everything.

Whenever you are in India, you will want these things in your purse. Diaper wipes and/or tissue paper – enough for an entire day, some kind of lipstick or chapstick, and hand sanitizer. Aspirin or tylenol. And a bottle of water.

The car ride from Delhi is long. If you normally get car sick, this will be especially long. Bring Dramamine. And a pillow is not a bad idea either. I had our driver keep the car pretty cold. That helped with the car sickness. So, a sweater too.

Pack your own snacks and drinks. But, do not drink too much in the morning. When I say there aren’t many places to stop and go to the bathroom, I mean, there aren’t any places to stop and go to the bathroom. Unless you are a man. Then you can truly stop wherever you want and go. Yep, on the side of the road, wherever. No matter how many people are around. Feel free.

There is a McDonalds about an hour away from the town of Agra. It has fries, chicken sandwiches, veggie sandwiches, chicken rollups, ice cream, and, thankfully, an indoor toilet. There was no toilet paper though. It seemed that they normally have toilet paper – but this time they were out. Stop here. Go to the bathroom. And then go again. You’ll want to be sure that you are as empty as possible.

And just fyi, the idea of time relative to traffic is always at best a guestamite. About an hour from Agra really means – it could be half an hour or it could be two hours. Traffic is very unpredictable. So just know that it could take longer than you expect and be thrilled if it doesn’t.

When we drove through Agra, we stopped at a corner to meet our guide. There were a lot of men standing around and one came walking over to the car. Then he got in the front sit after talking to the driver – yes, in Hindi. It turns out he was our guide for the day and a very good guide. But it seemed sort of random at first. And more than a little unsettling.

He took us to the parking lot and arranged for our “shuttle” to the Taj. I actually would recommend the camel ride. It was inexpensive – plenty of room – rent both sides of the cart – and placed you higher than the other modes of transport. This meant that the “vendors” could not reach you as well to show their bright shiny trinkets.

Tell your children that they will not be getting souvenirs at the Taj Mahal. The vendors will follow you closely. They will push shiny objects in front of your kids – your kids will probably want some of them. If they hear your kids asking for something, they become relentless. Number One Hubby would often walk in between me and them. They got the hint. I would also say “nay” firmly – without yelling – think of disciplining your kids in front of the minister. You would not yell, but you can certainly get your point across. And try not to look at them. That is seen as an invitation. It is my understanding that if you buy from one, others (many others) will come out of everywhere to vie for your attention.

Security – well that is a fun little experience all on its own. You will get felt up by a woman. She’ll pat down your boobs and your butt and your front pockets. You are allowed a smallish purse. Cameras and cell phones. No other electronics – at all. None. This was fine by me and luckily we knew it ahead of time. Kids don’t need their ipods when looking at the Taj Mahal.

You will also not be allowed to take in any food or drinks or candy or gum – water is allowed. Take that – especially if it is hot. Now that I think of it, we bought our water at the gate – maybe you have to buy it there to take it in – I don’t think so, but I really am not sure.

There are lots of great places to take pictures. You will only be allowed to take a video camera right inside the main entrance building. You will pay a fee to use it – I don’t remember what that was – maybe 100 rupees ($2). Then you will be required to put it in a locker. Our guide did that for us – it was cheaper that way. Don’t lose the key. You get your camera back on the way out. Our guide helped us remember that we put a video camera in the locker. Yes, that was very helpful. You can take your regular camera (still pictures) every where on the grounds. You will not be allowed to take pictures inside the Taj Mahal.

There will be quite a few photographers who offer to take pictures for you. If you have your own camera, you really don’t need them to do it for you. Just watch for people taking funny pictures and follow along.

When you buy your ticket to get in, you can also get booties to wear over your shoes. Recommended. Otherwise, you have to walk barefoot with 3 million of your closest friends. Not recommended. There is a lovely little man who will help you put your booties on. Let him. They rip easily. We tipped him 20 rupees (40 cents).  A small price to pay to be able to wear your shoes.

If you have light skin and light hair, be prepared to be asked to have your picture taken. Many people visiting the Taj Mahal have never seen light skinned people before. They travel from very remote villages to be there. They will want your picture. You can say no. We did. Mostly they asked our guide. He said if you let one do it, bring on the masses. It’s just not a good idea. Plus – who knows where the pictures would end up. I’ve always wanted to be a rock star but it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.

If you have a small flash light, take it with you – like one the size of a writing pen. It is very cool to see how it illuminates the stones in the marble. You put the light right on top of the brown stones (I think they might be jasper) and it makes them seem clear.

I would recommend wearing capri pants to your visit of the Taj Mahal. Not a skirt and not long pants. This is why…

There is the matter of the “restroom”. Okay – it is apparently called a turkish toilet. It smells beyond horrible and the floor is VERY wet. It is a toilet room (translation – basically a tiled hole in the ground) that you squat over. However, it did flush. I found that extremely ironic. You are in your own stall behind a closed door. Use the handle of the door to your advantage – it can help you not fall in. (I now know where the inspiration for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came from – I doubt Harrison Ford could masterfully maneuver his way around this pit.)

Indians must pay to use the restroom – all others pay for toilet paper. Unless you bring your own. I gave 20 rupees (40 cents) for me and the girls to get toilet paper. Number One Hubby said I over paid – I think not. The girl let me take as much as I wanted. Enough said. There is a sink with running water to wash your hands afterwards.

You will also want to wear comfortable shoes – throw fashion to the wind. This is especially true if you plan to visit the fort. The entrance way is uneven so that water could not build up and make it slippery for the horses. It is not hard to walk on in flat shoes – but horses did not wear heels and neither should you.

There are two hotels for lunch – one is the Mughal (Sheraton) hotel and the other is the Oberoi. I think you need reservations for the Oberoi – it’s on the path to the Taj Mahal. The Mughal was lovely and very clean. But you drive there. Not a problem really. And indoor plumbing with toilets you could actually sit on. Bonus. And free (soft) toilet paper. Bonus. Bonus.

The Agra fort is definitely worth seeing. I think you get a discount if you show your Taj Mahal tickets. We saw beggars (just a couple) at the fort. None at the Taj Mahal.  And more vendors. They are pretty aggressive but not dangerous – just remember “nay”.

The monkeys at the fort are very comfortable being around humans. You should not feel the same. They are cool – from a distance. They will take glasses and other unattached things.

After you visit the Taj Mahal and the fort, your guide will most likely offer to take you to see an exhibit of how they laid the stones in the marble and an embroidery exhibit. This means that you will be invited to see craftsmen toiling away at their craft. You can ask questions and touch the pieces (at least of marble). Then you will be invited into a show room were you will be allowed to purchase items. They are not free. 😎 If you do not think  you want to shop at the show room, you can say no to the exhibit. We only went to the marble exhibit. I bought a beautiful vase. As far as I could tell, the demonstration was free. The vase was definitely not. No samples here.

On the way back to Delhi, stop at the McDonalds again and take your last drink. Traffic can be very unpredictable. It took us longer to get home then it took to get there. Don’t forget to refresh on the Dramamine if you tend to get car sick and turn the air conditioner on. It really does help.

When Pages Come Alive……..

Right before we left the United States, I read an amazing story about the family who built the Taj Mahal. It was Beneath A Marble Sky by John Shors. It’s historical fiction. So he took the facts and filled in the blanks. If you ever think you will visit the Taj Mahal, please read that book first. The pages will come alive.

So, we jumped right in and visited the Taj Mahal this weekend. This will probably be a long one – so go ahead and get yourself a cup of coffee. Or a beer – or whatever.

First – the drive. The Taj Mahal is about a 3-hour drive from Delhi. That is if there is no fog and no traffic. We got both. The fog was so thick that it was like driving through pudding. Vanilla pudding, but pudding none-the-less. Fog should only be an issue in the winter months. In the summer months, it’s the heat. So, pick your poison.

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It took a little much, much longer than expected. But we made it in one piece.

The Taj Mahal is located in a town named Agra. Forget everything you know about towns. Agra is congested and narrow and dirty and, did I mention congested? There are monkeys and cows and goats and people and cars and bikes and buses everywhere.

We hired a guide to take us through the Taj Mahal and its sister monument the Agra Fort. I highly recommend this. He was 500 rupees for the day – which is about $10 – we paid him more than that. It was worth every penny.

For example. He knew that you cannot park near the Taj Mahal. It used to be that you could park right in front of the monument grounds – but they are now worried about pollution. So, you have to park in a lot and either walk, ride a bus, ride an auto-rickshaw, ride a horse drawn carriage, or ride a camel drawn carriage. Which one did we pick? You got it – bring on the camel.

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This was probably the slowest (and smelliest) way to go. But I thought it would be the most authentic. Yes, my son loves me very much for that. Apparently, India has taught him that he is acutely aware of smells. Especially bad ones. This cost 300 rupees – about $6. We paid for both sides of the cart. You do not pay them until the return trip to the car. That way they will wait for you.

I did not take pictures of all the vendors who were literally on top of us as we walked down the street. Our guide told us not to look at them, not to buy anything, and not to talk to them. I guessed pictures might not be the best idea. See that college degree did pay off. I am thinking! I did learn a new word. Nay – I am not sure how you spell it – but you say it like this – Nay, Nay, Nay, NAY, NAAAAAYYYYY. And you walk quickly. And hold your kids hands. It’s not dangerous but you want them to know that no is, in fact, no.

And yes, your kids will probably want most of what they see. So it is helpful to tell them before hand not to even bother asking. Because, it turns out that it is not so helpful to have them asking you for things when you are trying to shoo the vendors away. It’s a little bit of a mixed message and the vendors can smell the want in the kids eyes.

This is the entrance to the Taj Mahal. It cost 750 rupees (about $15) to get in per adult. Children under 15 are free. You have to go through security. Yes, they pat you down. The only electronics allowed are cell phones and cameras. No ipods, MP3, or game boys. Cell phones and cameras. That’s it.

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There are 22 small domes on the entrance representing the 22 years it took to build the Taj Mahal. Another reason for a guide is that he will know just where to take all the good pictures and can shoo away the professional photographers who will charge you money for photos. You are allowed to take your own – you do not have to pay for them.

The Taj Mahal cost 32 million rupees to build. Twenty thousand people worked on it everyday that it was being built. This is what you see when you walk through the entrance. The Taj Mahal was meant to seem like it was floating in air. Job Well Done Shah Jahan. Floating it seems.

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It is very hard to describe how it feels to see the Taj Mahal for the first time. It is overwhelmingly majestic. It looks so soft and when you know the story of the love behind it – well, you can almost melt into its beauty.

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The grounds surrounding the Taj Mahal are beautiful as well.

This might have worked out better with a professional photographer. But it was fun trying. If you do it right, it looks like you are touching the tip of the Taj Mahal.

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The Taj Mahal and its surrounding monuments and temples are all symmetrical. The only thing that is not symmetrical is Shah Jahan’s tomb inside the Taj. His daughter buried him next to her mother after her brother stopped the building of Shah Jahan’s own mausoleum and imprisoned him. She understood their love and knew that they should spend eternity together. Awwww.

The pillars on the Taj Mahal look like they are perpendicular to the ground. They are not – they are bowing out at a 93 degree angle. This is so that from a distance it looks like they are straight up and down. Our guide also laughed that this was so that if the pillars fell, they would not fall on the monument. I am guessing that could be true. How they knew to do that so long ago and how they measured that angle? Maybe there is something to this whole math thing.

This picture was taken on the bench that was built for Princess Diana’s visit. So, I have now sat on the throne of a Princess in the Mausoleum of a King and Queen. Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Bring me my crown.

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The decorative flowers in the walls of the Taj Mahal are all semi-precious stones (like lapis lazuli, jade, crystal, turquoise, and amethyst) that that have been laid into the marble. The carvings are in one big slab of marble. So if they made one mistake, they had to start all over. I was amazed that you had to cover your shoes when you walk in the building (or take them off) but you are allowed to touch any part of the walls you want. Shoes not okay – oily, dirty human hands – bring them on. Okay. It was shocking how smoothly the stones fit into the marble.

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The rules said you are not allowed to take pictures inside the Taj Mahal. So I did not. I wish I had. But, rules are rules.

Follow me on to the next post – I am going to continue this so that there aren’t so many pictures for you to load in one post.

When Pages Come Alive (part 2)………….

If you haven’t read When Pages Come Alive (part 1), you might want to start there.

Across this river is where Shah Jahan had intended to have his own mausoleum built. It was barely started. You can still see the outline of bricks – but not much more than that. He had intended to build it with all black stones. He wanted to connect the two buildings with a bridge. But it was not to be. (And, yes, Angel was tired of having her picture taken.)

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This next picture has nothing to do with the Taj Mahal – but there is a very nice man there who will help you feed the chipmunks. We gave him a little tip to say thank you. Yes, this is just like going to Disney and spending a day at the hotel pool – it is one of the things my kids will remember most about being in Agra.

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There are two identical buildings on either side of the Taj Mahal. They both look like this. If I remember right, one is for prayer and the other for ceremony. Don’t quote me on that.

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On to the Agra Fort. Only 20% of the fort is open to visitors. The remaining 80% is used by the military. The fort was built during the lives of 4 different rulers. One king had a grape garden for wine making. Yummy. Another king was married to three different women – a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Christian. Very open minded for a king from so long ago – well, minus the having three wives part.

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This is the chamber where Shah Jahan was imprisoned and the view of the Taj Mahal he was given.

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The ceiling in this room used to all be outlined in gold and looters took care of that . Sadly, this little section is all that is left.

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One last thing, this is how they clean the fort and the Taj Mahal. They spread mud on it and then clean off the mud. That makes perfect sense. And shhhh, don’t my kids that cleaning something by smearing it with mud first is an effective process. They can be literal thinkers, remember?

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Well that is our visit of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. There are surely a few little tidbits here and there that I have forgotten. So, I’ll probably write more later. If you have any quesitons, just ask me.

Oh yes, and the Agra fort has a lot of monkeys. Don’t get too close. Hell hath no fury like a monkey scorned.

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By Way of History………..

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan was married to 4 women – but only Mumtaz Mahal had any children. She died when she was giving birth to their 14th child. His name was Gauhara Begum. He survived the birth, even though his mother did not, and lived for 75 years.

Shah Jahan was so devastated by the death of his wife that he ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal as a place to bury her. It took 20,000 people working every day for 22 years to complete the Taj. Shah Jahan also started building a mausoleum across from the Taj Mahal for himself. It was to be built in all black stones. However, his son stopped him from finishing that project.

Soon after the Taj Mahal’s completion, Shah Jahan was arrested by his son. Aurangzeb imprisoned his father in the Red Fort in a chamber with a view of the Taj Mahal. When Shah Jahan died his daughter buried him in the Taj Mahal near his wife.

Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words:

Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator’s glory.

(Much of this information came from Wikipedia.)

TWeNTy-FiVe DaYs and CouNTiNG….

Yikes, that’s right. Twenty-five days and counting. My furry children (minus Queso who has found a wonderful temporary home) leave on Sunday for India. It’s a little weird that my furry children will get to see India before my non-furry children, but so it goes.

We saw Slum-dog Millionaire this week. It has a very creative story-line but it is definitely not a advertisement for tourism, much less for taking up residence, in India. But it did pique my sight-seeing interest. It’s really not that different than any story about any child surviving in a slum would be. There are some parts that are very hard to watch. But, we have our own neglects in the United States – India appears to be no different. And because there are (a lot) more people, there are (a lot) more poor people.

I have also read Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors, which is an amazing tale about the era in which the Taj Mahal was built. It’s a magically written historical fiction that could paint a picture of the Taj Mahal and its history that even a blind man could imagine and see. Even if you are not moving to India, you can appreciate the intricate relationships of families and parents and siblings. It is a love story of action and impatience and imagination – it is the love story not just of a husband and his wife, but of a father and a daughter, a sister and her brothers, a princess and her best friend.

My book club was fortunate enough to be able to talk with John Shors. He was so gracious with his time and insights and he shared with us that this book took five years to write. You can tell. There is not one single moment in it that lets you drift away from the plot. There are graphic instances that are dealt with precisely – no violence for violence’s sake. It’s fabulous! If you have time, read it.

So, anytaj, we spent some time with friends this week who will probably not see for quite some time. It was great and Monday begins the great paperwork battle of my life. Coordinating utilities, medical info, and school records-  verifying our vaccines are, in fact, all done (please God, let them be done), – packing, unpacking, and repacking – and who knows what else. There is a lot to do with only twenty-five days and counting – backwards to the 26th. Yikes.

And the winner is…. Well, me

I am new to this bloggin’ thang and I know many of you are too. So when I got my first blogging award today, I was so surprised. No time to even write a speech. But luckily, it’s all done via internet, so no worries about what designer I have to convince to let me borrow a dress – I don’t even need to figure out what museum to rob for jewelry to wear – no tripping on the red carpet – whew.

Apparently it works like this. Other bloggers find your blog and, if they like it, they can award you something. So today, sassymamasays.blogspot.com awarded me the “Holy Crap, You’re Moving to India” award. Look, I did not say they were official awards – but I am taking it! A total stranger found my blog, read it, laughed a little, and took the time to create an award just for me. Aw shucks!

Thank you Sassy Mama!

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