India - Agra, The Taj Mahal Day 9

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

We woke up at the crack of dawn...(there was still the number 4 on my clock)...and got ready to visit the Taj Mahal

We arrived just before 6am (which is the time the Taj opens) and queued up to enter and get to see the sunrise.

Something to note, you aren't allowed to take video cameras or selfie sticks in so make sure you don't take them! 

Another thing to note, if you go for sunrise, wear mosquito repellent! There were so many mozis around and they were huge! None of us thought to wear repellent as we'd only been wearing it in the evenings.

Once we were all through security we walked through the great gate to be greeted with this view...

It was actually breathtaking

The crowd was really small at this hour so you could enjoy the sunrise and take pictures without being surrounded by people...and without the sun baking down on you!

I know some people go for sunset but I think sunrise was stunning. Apparently you can go at the full moon which would be amazing!

One thing we decided we really wanted to do was do a flash mob infront of the Taj and film it

We didn't organise it that well so in the end we just decided to dance and take photos

Fortunately we didn't film it as the security guard came and took my camera to deleted any film footage.

Thank god we only took pictures

Because these are some of my favourite pictures in the entire world

Who can say they've danced in front the Taj Mahal?!

After our dancing we walked up to the actual Taj Mahal

And put on shoe covers before going inside

You aren't allowed to take photos inside but believe me its gorgeous.

All of the flower patterns that look like painting are actually chips of previous stones that have been filed to shape/

The entire site is completely symmetrical...or was until the Emperor died.

So on each side there are these red buildings - the assembly hall and the mosque

They're beautiful in themselves but they're nothing compared to the Taj

After we'd looked around and learnt some of the history we walked back to the main gate.

I said above that the Taj was symmetrical until the Emperor died, that's because his wife (who he built the Taj for) was buried in the centre and he was buried beside her - making the Taj no longer symmetrical.

When we got back to the great gate we saw loads of people taking pictures of themselves pinching the top of the Taj...

I attempted this and "the claw" was released

Do you know how hard this is to do with long nails without looking like a crab?

I have double jointed hands anyway but this just makes them look so much weirder!!

After we'd seen the Taj we went to a local workshop where they make marble goods in the same style as the Taj's pattern.

So each of these flower petals are a different very thin piece of precious stone

I looked at a table that took four years to make...unfortunately it was 2 grand...but it would have looked so nice as my dining table.

When leaving the workshop and getting back on the bus, Will and Kate drove past us on their way to the Taj.

They look pretty cute...and very happy...but did they salsa in front of it??

That afternoon we drove all the way to Jaipur...over 5 hours.

It was exhausting and when we arrived the last thing we wanted to do was sightsee...

but we went to a local kind of fair I suppose is what I'd call it. Its a bit like what I imagine a medieval world theme park would be like...but in India? So they had camel and elephant rides, traditional indian food and dancing

We all got a tilaka on our heads as we entered

and had thali for dinner

Think of it like Indian tapas? Lots of little dishes
It was absolutely delicious!

And this is when I had one of the most awful moments of 2016

This is me crying

Ugly cry face

So one of the waiters had glasses of buttermilk and he kept giving them to me. I pretended to enjoy drinking these glasses as I didn't want to be rude...however it did just taste like watery sour cream and it wasn't my cup of tea.

I obviously encouraged this guy (an error!) and he brought me something else...a napkin of what looked like lavender seeds.

I didn't want to be rude (why am I so British) so I took a spoonful of them and put them in my mouth.

Everyone who knows me knows how much I hate cheese...not as many people know that I despise liquorice!

These were not lavender seeds....they were fennel seeds.

Fennel seeds that the more I crunched them the more liquorice flavouring was dispersed into my mouth.

I didn't want to be rude so I carried on chewing them whilst pretending I was enjoying them... whilst tears were streaming down my face

I tried to sip some buttermilk to get rid of the flavour...this did not help and in the end I had to chew them for a good few minutes before he went away and I could spit them out

Turns out you're only meant to eat a PINCH to cleanse your palette. I ate an entire spoonful...not even a teaspoon

EUGH honestly it was disgusting.

Once I'd got over that (which took a while) we headed home to our next hotel

The beautiful Shiv Vilas Hotel

This place was so so beautiful

Such a shame we only had a few hours sleep in it and then had to be off again!!

My next India blog will be my final one so stay tuned!

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