Monday, April 29, 2013

The Taj Mahal

We had a wonderful day in Agra visiting some of the sites there. 
But the greatest was the Taj Mahal.  It really lives up to it's billing.

 We arrived by 6:30 to the Taj Mahal and it was just getting light.
 My ticket cost 750 Rupees and an Indian national costs about 100 Rupees.
 There was already a line up to get inside.

 I made it through the line for women pretty quickly, but Jerome's line was longer.
 This is the actual entrance gate, so huge.  The grounds are beautiful, manicured and spotless!
 This is our first sighting of the Taj.
 The Taj Mahal!
It is interesting how much difference light makes.

We loved seeing the different views, close and far, in the early morning light.
 I felt bad that Elder Wigg didn't wear a white shirt, as the dramatic contrast would have been good.
 The sun on the marble brings it to life.

 All this is marble inlay of semi-precious stones.
 Brown-headed Barbet

People entering into the actual mausoleum.
 This one's my favorite shot as the light is brighter.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Touring Jaipur/Amber Fort

I was fascinated by the interesting differences in Jaipur.  
Northern India has more peddle rickshaws, for instance.
We are ready for our fun day of sightseeing in Jaipur.

 The Facade

 This is our first view of the Amber Fort.
The elephant rides look like fun!!
 It's pretty cool architecture. 

The police were on duty.
 There were many interesting items for sale. The Peacock is a shoe horn.
 This is a look at what we are about to do, riding up to the Amber Fort on the back of an elephant.
2 photographers take our picture as we began the ascent.
 This is our selfie on board the elephant.
 So, the elephants all turn around and head back down after they've unloaded.

It's a nice view on the way up.
 Look at how colorful these elephants are.  Their owners really like to paint them nicely.
This is the courtyard inside the walls of the Amber Fort.
Our driver
Malik, on the left and Benson, our guide, is on the right.

This is so beautiful!

 I just love the archways and pillars inside the fort.
The tops of the pillars were elephant head carvings.
 The courtyard viewed from the wall.

 We posed with the lovely tapestry stone drawings behind us.  The lighting was so soft.

 This drawing is on the ceiling inside the fort.
 These carved walls are painted with silver.

 Isn't this just gorgeous!

I'm enthralled with the beauty of the skilled architecture.
 Our local guide, Malik, and Elder Wigg.

 This is the oldest door in the Fort.

 Again, archways with elephant heads.
 I think this is marble inlay.

 The sun shining through this window does funny things to my camera mirrors!

 I love this shot.  Light is so interesting.  This is the sunlight reflecting inside the stone walls of this hallway.
 Jerome descending the ancient stairs.
This is the bathrooms.
 We saw a snake charmer, but the snake was rubber.  I'm just as happy about that.
The vendors are hard at work.  We did buy our photos from them at a decent price.
 Outside you could see the walls of the Old Fort higher up.
 These are the jeeps waiting to take the tourists back down the hill.
This owner is taking his elephant home after a long day of work carrying tourists up the hillside.
This is a caravan of camels stopped for a break.

 I liked this tee shirt for sale in the market.
Man, this guy has a heavy load.
 This sign tells us that there is 39 minutes difference at this point so subtract that 39 minutes.

 Yes, the time seems to be correct according to my watch.
Deduct that 39 minutes from the sundial time and get 6 minutes to 12 noon. Correct!
 This is one of the main, large sundials.
 I am seated in front of the 'Cancer' Sundial.
 Jerome is posing in front of the 'Virgo' Sundial.
 The University teaches about the early sundials.
 Jerome is amused by the vendors and the persistence.

 Benson took us for dinner.  The Indian food was fabulous.

The market
 You rarely see horse carts.

Camels in the streets!  Pretty cool!

 This truck looks fully loaded.
 This man is a potter, making clay pots on his wheel.
This explains the "Stepwell".
The Stepwell (a large water well that you can walk down into to get water)
 Of course, it's ancient and not used as a well anymore.
 There were so many pigeons living in the arches of the Stepwell.
This truck has an engine that can be removed and used for other purposes, as well.
 This ancient Temple was destroyed but some of the stones have been salvaged.
 Pretty cool stone carving here.
This is cow dung made into patties for burning as fuel.