Day Eight

   Posted by: Dean White   in India


·         Crown Royal

·         City of Agra

·         Airport

Purpose: Day of site seeing

Tomorrow: Flying home (22+ hours of travel)


  • Riding a Camel & an Elephant
  • Taj Mahal
  • Fort Agra

Quote of the day: “Love creates monuments.”

It has been an exhausting 36 hours since we left the hotel to travel to Agra.  I am currently writing this from the plane and hope to post it by 6pm tonight.  (Because of computer hold up and exhaustion, I was not able to post this until Monday afternoon). We left for Agra at 6am, traveled by bus for 4 hours until we reached our destination, visited the Taj Mahal and Fort Agra, went back on the bus for another 4 hours to the hotel where we grabbed our bags and headed to the airport to catch our 2am flight to London which took about 9 hours in the air.  After a quick layover we jumped on the next flight of which I am currently on.  This flight will be another 11+ hours, which will mean I will be up for approximately 2 complete days with little sleep (I barely sleep on busses and planes, regardless of the position or technique I try). But regardless of the lack of sleep I am inspired, encouraged, and contemplative.  I hope to take an ambient and sleep for about 10 hours and awaken restful to a great Monday.

Camels and Elephants …and snakes!

Driving to Agra (the home of the Taj Mahal) was painful.  I was hoping to type out my blog and download pictures but the bus needed shocks sooo badly that the bumping made it impossible for my fingers to find the keys on the laptop.  The highlight was when we had to stop to pay a toll and the street vendors would run up to the bus to sell us things.  We were shocked …and amused when we saw a monkey but we were even more when the snake charmers came up to the bus.  The driver opened the door and I jumped out!  I snake kept snapping at the handler and I asked if I touched the snake and it bit would it really hurt.  Found out that these snake’s fangs have been removed and there is no harm.  Sweet! 

A few more miles down the road and we arrived at the Crown Royal.  Here they had a camel and an elephant.  We all took turn riding them both.  Riding them was a ton of fun and actually a lot more smooth than riding on the bus. I especially liked the elephant.  She was extremely sweet and I enjoyed petting her ears and head.  There was also a man with his daughter who danced for us while he played on a strange stringed instrument while we rode. 

Taj Mahal

You ever have one of those moments where you see something is so beautiful that just being in its presence gives you goose bumps and everything around including the breeze itself …stops.  Welcome to the Taj.

Photographs do not give it justice.  It is absolutely breath taking.  It took 22 years of men working around the clock every day of the year to complete the masterpiece.  The marble they used is extremely rare.  It is 30 percent denser than most other marbles and therefore, does not stain or need to be sealed.  When light hits it the marble actually ‘glows’ since it absorbs the light.  This is visible on a full moon night when the moon light beams directly into it.  It is also located on a river and visible from Fort Agra.  The emperor and his wife are buried below the main floor of the Taj making it a mausoleum.  Taj Mahal translates to Crown Building.

On one side of the Taj is a mosque and on the other side is a building that looks exactly the same for symmetrical purposes was built for guest to stay.  The gardens, the gate you walk through, the towers, everything is designed with such precision and beauty, one has to wonder how in the world did anyone design such a masterpiece.

For more on the Taj check out http://www.angelfire.com/in/myindia/tajpics.html

Fort Agra

A fifteen minute ride from the Taj gets you to Fort Agra.  2/3rds is still used by the military and therefore, we were unable to see.  But the 1/3 we did see was amazing.  The whole fort is surrounded by a moat that they filled with alligators in the day.  Parrots and monkeys still own the walls, probably descendants from when the fort was occupied in the 17th century.  It was equally as impressive as the Taj just not as beautiful.  Here the 500+ concubines would live as well as many others who served the emperor.  And for his last 8 years of his life, the emperor himself was on house arrest at the fort.  His 3rd son killed his two older brothers and arrested his father so he could take over reign.  The 3rd son then reigned for 40 some years.


I had so much fun with the vendors who would follow, push and try to sell you things as you left the Taj and Fort Agra.  They would say, how about a t-shirt with a picture of the Taj on it, and I would say that I don’t like t-shirts, they chap my chest.  Then they would say, ok… what do you want I will get it.  I would say, how about some chocolate (it was hot so I didn’t think they could get it) and a strawberry sundae.  And would you know it …

Just kidding, they would just laugh and try to sell me more junk, until I was on the bus and the bus was moving, then the price would drop really low and I would buy.  I got a Taj book for $5 and postcards for $1.  But I would have busted out a twenty if they would have come up with that sundae. 

We left the fort to go to a place nearby where they make beautiful tables, plates, and other things out of the same marble used at the Taj.  Each design is handmade and most things take 18 + to create.  It was amazing to see how each one was created by hand and with such expertise.

Now it was back in the bumpy bus for 4 hours, to the hotel to grab out luggage and immediately to the airport for our 2am flight.  By now we are all exhausted and we have 22+ hours of travel ahead of us.

Thought of the Day

Seeing the Taj made me think how a man will go to great lengths for the one he loves.  It also made me think of how our love can leave a legacy for years and years.  For some it will be represented in a monument and for others in the lives of those they love.  No one is going to erect a monument for Dr. Edwards but her love will be seen in each of those children for years and years.  And it dawned on me … that written on my home computer, is a post it note that reads, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven in the lives of others.”  We can all leave a legacy that glows. A masterpiece, if you will, that speaks of the lives we lived.  It begins by stitching a piece of us in the lives of others …and letting God begin to weave.


This entry was posted on Saturday, October 18th, 2008 at 11:27 pm and is filed under India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


This is Sheri, a good friend of Raquel’s, and I’ve so enjoyed your thoughts and comments on this journey. Thank you for sharing, it made Raq being gone, not seem so far away. You made me laugh and cry…and that’s a good thing.

October 20th, 2008 at 3:32 pm
Matthew Hogg


Can’t wait to talk to you when you get back and get settled in. It was fun going through this with you.

In Him,


October 21st, 2008 at 4:59 am