This marble covered structure is a remarkable testament to the architectural capabilities of the Mughal people, built by an emperor, Shah Jahan, to entomb his deceased wife. Many are aware that the Taj Mahal appears to change colors as the daylight shifts however there are many other architectural wonders to this place. For example, the entrance to the garden area is designed so that the structure appears to get larger and larger as you walk away from it. They say that when you leave, you take the Taj with you.
This place was the main residence of the emperors of Mughal Dynasty until the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi in 1638. Late in his life, Shah Jahan was removed from power by his son and subsequently imprisoned at Agra Fort. Apparently his son retained some sense of affection for his father when he ordered him placed in a cell that overlooked the Taj Mahal, allowing him to view his masterpiece until the day he died.
We also made a visit to the local market in Agra. This is a very different experience than visiting the Taj. The Taj is very “touristy”, hosting up to 40,000 visitors per day. The local market however is really for locals and we loved the experience. We went to see the Indian spices for sale and got to see the spice and a whole lot more. The place was alive with activity, motor bikes, tuk tuks, people, animals, and commerce were everywhere. It certainly seemed like westerners were not common in this part of town as we got lots of looks. While some had trouble communicating with us, we mostly felt very welcome.
Sitting in the hotel lobby, I looked up to see a familiar face checking in to the hotel. Strange and out of context at first, I thought to myself, "that CAN'T be Donald Feinberg". Sure enough, it was Donald, Distinguished Analyst from Garter and someone I have worked with for years. I waited until the hotel staff had finished checking him in, went over and said hello. This small world story was made even better when he told me that he'd been following our blog since the beginning.