|Passed this guy on the way to the gate of the Taj Mahal|
|These camels, and the guys offering camel-drawn carriage rides, didn't seem too happy.|
|An absolutely normal sight|
|Still raining at the ticket counter|
|Red sandstone. Jewel-inlayed marble.|
We visited the museum against the advice of my guide. He didn't think it was worth it and I can see why, but the small building housed small paintings of the wife of the Mughal emperor for which the Taj Mahal was built. She died giving birth to their 14th child and the Taj Mahal is her tomb, not a palace as is often presumed. The building itself is constructed of marble and decorated with intricate jewel inlay. I donned the special shoe coverings to go inside and see the tombs up close. I wondered what the common people of the time thought about this ridiculously lavish grave.
|Lunch. At an Indian buffet. In India.|
|Jewels being inlayed into marble|
|Descendants of the workers who did the jewel inlay at the Taj Mahal|
Then I got lead into a room full of marble tables. I was well-versed at this game by now, looked the sales guy square in the eyes and said firmly, "I live in a small apartment. I don't have the space, the need, or the money for anything in this room. I'm not going to buy anything here." I was so proud of myself... until I was lead to a smaller room with smaller items made of marble. There were candle holders and trinket boxes and ash trays. I emphasized my disinterest as I eyed a small marble box with green jewel inlay. It would make a wonderful gift for my mother-in-law, but I wasn't sure she'd like it and for the money, I knew I could find her a gift she would like and use more. I stood firm and asked to leave. Our next stop was a jeweler where I could see some of the fine jewels that were only available here in Agra. Nope, sorry dude... not buying anything! I knew where the exit was this time and used it promptly.
|The Red Fort of Agra|
|Parts of the Red Fort are constructed of white marble|
|View of the Red Fort from the entrance|
|As we left Agra, there were tons of these panchii shops that sold candy. My driver hopped out to get me a piece to try.|
|Life on the streets of Agra|