Rule number four

I know, I know, with the ink barely dry on rule #4 (No more dawn treks), I go and pull a major violation. I look forward to your comments and messages. Let me make my case. The way I see it there are two technical issues that in my mind mitigate the infraction. Marce can be very charming, in addition to quite persuasive, and while admittedly dark, the trek to the Taj Mahal sunrise was paved, flat, and not all that long.

I’ve noticed that crowds have an energy all to themselves, so faced with feeling the press of more and more people being added to the same vector, and when you consider the sunrise time limit, what could go wrong? You might ask yourself, “are these people stampeders?” Empathetic Marce seemed to absorb the vibe and even on a lazy Sunday stroll, walks like the wind. I could not keep up.

Before long we found ourselves in a long security line where the authorities were confiscating torches, books, cigarettes, and I don’t know what all. I think the country has gone amuck. Clearing that hurdle, we performed the funereal shuffle through the Royal Gate where one finds a peek-a-boo view through a sculptured arch, beautifully softened with an atmospheric dawn mist.

Even hyped to death like a hit song, you can’t deny this place will still leave you breathless with its overwhelming beauty.

Before we came to India we had no great burning desire to see the Taj Mahal. If it came our way, or didn’t require much of a sacrifice we were in. Great white hulking symmetrical buildings, with every square inch covered with busy textures, carvings, and media, usually doesn’t do it for me. However, somehow this works as a cohesive whole with grace and lightness. We really enjoyed exploring the angles that were there if you took the time to find the genius in the work. It’s truly breathtaking.


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2 Responses to Rule number four

  1. Jitendra sanscrit spiritual name

    Aaaahhhh yes… my primary reason for my trip to India was to visit the Taj Mahal… and I’m so thrilled to see your photos. My first stop was with our entire tourist group which meant we had to stay together to get our bus back to the hotel. The next morning I was up early and went to the lobby to get a ride back to the “Taj”… I was flustered because there was no bus at the hotel at 5 a.m… but I caught sight of a fellow tour companion headed with great vigor to the outside of the hotel. She was headed for the motorbike with nice big wheel seats. She was from New York and refused to eat any Indian food; she brought her own collection of fruits and nuts. We arrived before we were allowed into the grounds. I found a chai vendor who also wasn’t ready to serve but we talked while he heated a large metal ball with a blow torch. We had a great conversation and a wonderful chai tea. Then I rejoined my Virgo travel companion for our entrance into the grounds. I assume they still have armed guards at the door. I confess I didn’t realize that the Taj Mahal is a Muslim memorial. At my third visit I took a chance and stopped to sing under the dome above the memorials. No English words and short enough to make a clean escape. I then learned the purpose of the buildings on either side of “the Taj”. The one on the right was built as a hospitality domicile for visiting royalty or political guests; while the one on the left is a mosque for religious services. They are mirror images of each other. I paid for a guide on this third visit and we waited until all the other “tourists” cleared out. Then I began to sing to the dome. Not as lovely as the central one, but almost and quite satisfying. I sang quite a long time and felt very holy. I went to visit the parrot tree and after some visual confusion managed to start seeing dozens of colorful parrots. And then a favorite part of my visit, a mongoose. The sidewalks had little “tunnels” inside of them; doubtless to aid draining water during the wet seasons. This mongoose was shocked, as was I, to see me and he quickly retreated back inside this round hole under the sidewalk. I was determined to get a picture of my new friend. I assumed a lotus pose and waited. Eventually, (half an hour?) the mongoose stuck his head out to see if I was still there. I got some very nice photos and then quietly left so he/she could resume its morning rounds.
    The love story surrounding the Taj was enchanting in its entirety. I hope you got to hear some of it. I can tell you really enjoyed your visit there from the photos. I am so happy for you and grateful that you shared it with me.
    Jitendra Bruce Bly

  2. Jason S Spitz

    Even I would wake up early for this.

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