Friday, January 21st, 2011
Today was an early day for our team! We were all ready to leave for a 4:15AM departure to Agra, but our bus driver never arrived to take us to the train station to catch our train – so we impervised! It was the perfect example for us to be flexible especially when things are out of our control. “The reed that does not bend, will break and will be cut off by the sickle” is from an old Romanian proverb that we try to keep mindful during our trips. God is in control, so when things don’t work out- it must be for a reason; God has a better plan! Our second bus driver arrived to pick us up in his “night suit” at 5:00AM from the hotel and we headed straight to Agra. The positive side was that it was so early – we beat all of the traffic on our way out of Delhi! After the four hour journey, we settled into our rooms and immediately experienced our first Taj Mahal sighting of the trip. Except for two hours of prayer, the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. So, we will tour the entire site tomorrow, however, we viewed the majestic Taj Mahal from the back side where the Emperor’s black version of the Taj was going to be built. It was a unique view that most people never get to see. Afterward, we all took turns riding “Raja”, a two-year old, one-humped camel around the front of the entrance!
We also got an opportunity to visit an amazing marble factory where we gained a great appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into building the Taj Mahal. They create beautiful plates, tables and sculptures with intricately inlaid semi-precious stones, coral and mother-of-pearl in the same way the Taj Mahal was constructed hundreds of years ago. It is an amazing fine art that we were so blessed to see!
Tomorrow is another early day for us. We will be going to the Taj Mahal at sunrise!