Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Grand World Voyage, Day 168, Agra, India (Part 3 of 3)

Another very early rising and off to Agra well before daylight.  The main reason for our early departure was to avoid the peak of the Holi celebration.  On our three hour journey to Agra, we observed the colorful rural life of the Rajasthan state before arriving at the Wonder World city.  We arrived at the hotel and had an early check-in for some R&R. The hotel invited our group to part-take in the Holi ceremony, a celebration with lots of colors,  but I choose to take a nap while we waited for the locals to finish celebrating Holi. When I say the group Ann appeared to be the holiest of the bunch, she was colored to the max! Early afternoon, we started our adventure in Agra with our first stop being the Agra Fort.  With the Taj Mahal overshadowing it, Agra has one of the finest Mughal forts in India.  This palatial red-sandstone and marble fortress, never ceases to amaze me as to the scale of what was built here...a maze of buildings forming a city within a city.  The fort is actually a beautifully restored palace complex - each section, from gardens to pavilions, to frescoed rooms - are well worth a visit. The fort was originally built as a military installation but the Shah transformed it into a palace.  Even today, 75% of the fort is used by the military and off-limits to the general public.  Onto the Taj Mahal; the iconic image of India.  Today, our visit to the Taj Mahal was in the late afternoon, as the setting sun bathes it in a soft orange glow. Do I need to say anymore? And it is even more spectacular in real life. Visiting the Taj Mahal is always a highlight of a trip to India.  I don't normally get excited over buildings but how can you not get excited about the Taj Mahal and my rearview shots as the sun was setting. There is such a beautiful and magical atmosphere here that certainly does this this incredible structure justice. On our return to the hotel, we made a quick stop to take a photo of the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, sometimes known as the Baby Taj.  We had a great day.  Tomorrow, we have a long way to travel as we are off to Fatehpur Sikri, Abhaneri (step well) and on to Ranthambore National Park….. time to hunt for some tigers….  This is part three of a three part blog.



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