Day 4 in India

October 23, 2008 | By Helen Tapping | News, Photography, Photojournalism

Up before dawn to view the Taj Mahal at sunrise; it was incredibly beautiful but very crowded (up to 20,000 people a day ). Guru, our guide, told us that there are two kinds of people: “those that have seen the Taj Mahal, and those that want to.” After a couple of hours, we headed over the Yamuna river to the “Baby Taj,” Itmad-ud-daulah tomb. This was equally stunning and detailed, but this time we were its sole visitors and we watched as workers restored it by hand.

Afterward, and after much persuasion, Kewel drove us to Sadar Bazaar. (He was extremely reluctant to make this drive due to recent bombings of other bazaars in Delhi.) He warned us we would be the only non-locals there, which actually appealed to us. It was the night before a big Hindi festival and the women (and transvestites!) were out in force buying their saris, bangles and bindi and having their hands painted with henna by the Mendhi-wallas.

After safely purchasing many shiny things…

…we headed back to our high security hotel, (2 armed guards check under each car with a mirror) for a quick swim at sunset, dive-bombed by bats and tropical birds.

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