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Monday, February 18, 2013
A Day Trip to the Taj Mahal
Today's journey involved leaving Cambodia, flying over Thailand and Burma, crossing the Bay of Bengal, then touching down in Agra, India for a day trip to the Taj Mahal. The weather proved interesting!
Getting ready to leave Siem Reap Cambodia
There's Captain Peter Whittick just having fun and welcoming us back to our private jet
The big news is: Rain across much of the Indian subcontinent and especially at the Taj Mahal. Drenching rain too.
It is the approach to the Taj that is most impressive. The grounds are huge and well kept, giving an impression of grandeur and elegance.
Constructed of beautiful white marble, the Taj began to be constructed in 1632. A brief history of the building is here.
Its all about the approach. The rain had stopped for a few minutes so that I could pull out my camera.
Everything is symmetrical about the building such that any half of it is a mirror image of the other
The entrance vaulted ceiling
Adjacent buildings are made of red sandstone, quarried in the nearby sate of Rajasthan
When entering the tomb, you can see how detaled the marble was cut
And there are incredible inlaid patterns made with semi=precious gems. The green is a type of chert, the red is jasper. A story about the stones of the Taj is here.
No photo's are allowed inside the tomb and it is too dark anyway to see much anyway. But after we exited from inside the Taj Mahal we found that the skies had opened up over Agra.In fact, this was a weather front that proved to be big news across India. This is the dry season and rain such as this was unusual. Temperatures plummeted to 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees F) setting records for this date in some locations. Two people were struck by lightning in Agra. And hail fell in many parts of neighboring states, damaging crops significantly. Everyone mentioned how strange it was and chalked it up to other weather phenomena that seem to be unusual lately.
The rain poured off of the roof of the Taj much like it does in Marble Canyon back home after a deluge
The marble was quite slick while wet. Although the weather was not perfect, we enjoyed this 4-hour stop to see a wonder that was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.