Nature is at its best in India – desert sand dunes, palm tree-lined waterways, snow-capped mountain ranges, and beautiful beaches.
My soft landing in India set the tone for my entire trip, in fact. I spent few days comfortably in Delhi looking at the heritage buildings, I saw the Taj Mahal, and it exceeded all my expectations. Many times over
and wondering how magnificent it is!
When you enter Agra, the first impression you might get is that it is a congested city with nothing “travel-worthy” about it. In fact, everything about it might seem quite ordinary till you remind yourself that this city is home to perhaps the most famous monument in the world. For many who have seen the Taj Mahal in movies or in magazines, or read articles about it, there is a charm and aura about it that grabs their attention. Add to that the fact that it is one of the most visited monuments of the world and it immediately finds a place in your list of destinations to see in India.
The Taj Mahal is the best-known building in the world and arguably the most beautiful. The architecture is sublime but it is the story that the stones embody that draws seven million visitors each year.
It is a monument to the great love between the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. They could not bear to be parted and Mumtaz would often travel with her husband even into war. It was on one such campaign in 1631 that she died after giving birth to their 14th child.
Over the next 14 years Shah Jehan employed the empire’s best architects, builders and craftsmen to design this vision in white marble, decorated with precious and semi-precious stones sourced from all over Asia.
Almost the entire trip was a magic carpet ride of excitement, adventure and learning — about myself, India and the world. I definitely had moments of challenge, frustration, and fatigue because of the heat as it was summer (48 degrees) but they were minor in comparison to what I was gaining and the fun I was having. And besides, growing up in India has taught me to take things in stride.
India is a beautiful romantic country with lovely surroundings, good food, music, and kind people, and so it was too when I was there – lovely, colorful, and with a particular charm.
This one-of-a-kind experience taught me to dream big.