"A Travelogue on Taj Mahal and Fathehpur Sikri" (Part 2) - written by Kavipriya Muthuramalingam

As promised here we are again for the second part of this amazing travel story. Again a big, big thanks to Kavippriya Muthuramalingam's for sharing with us :)

The pillared dalan of the fa├žade, the liwan with three arched openings framed by panels and crowned by five chhatris, the central mihrab adorned with an inlaid mosaic of stones that are bordered by glazed tiles, and the golden inscriptions on a royal blue background, all a tribute to this fusion. The fort and the mosque within are places of worship and it is widely believed that any prayer made at the mosque at Fatehpur Sikri comes true. I did offer my prayers and offerings at the site. One thing to avoid is the vendors who sell expensive shawls inside the shrine. The prices are very high and not worthy.
(Photo by Kavipriya)
The next day we started early as we were advised to go as soon as possible to the Taj, as it could get crowed and hotter during the day. I could not stop thinking how the first sight of this most beautiful monument would be... Will I be ever able to take all that beauty, all that splendor, that pure white magic with my bare eyes? I kept thinking as we enjoyed a camel ride to the entrance.
(Photos by Kavipriya)
Taj is like a beautiful young girl who hides from her most admired visitors behind the curtains. You cannot spot the magnificent 100 plus ft structure from being onsite anywhere you desire; instead, you would really have to step into that right spot to have that first look to take it all into you. As I reached the fort entrance after a brief security check, I strained myself, craning my neck upwards to catch a glimpse of her majesty, but all I could see were red forts and green trees. Then all of a sudden out of no where, just as if the moon came out of its hiding clouds, there she stood, eternal. It was such a beautiful sight as I stood still breathless for a moment trying to realize that, it was not a painting or a postcard or a video but is was real and better than anything I had ever seen before.
As we toured the inside of the Taj, the beautiful carvings and precious gemembellishments displayed the wealth and the eye for beauty the Moguls possessed. The Mahal is positioned on a raised platform, measuring over 6 meter in height and is embodied with floral design. The main getaway (Darwaza) is inscribed with Islamic calligraphy, while the mosque (Masjid) is finely carved out in marble. Other main parts like the guest house (Naqqar Khaana), the mausoleum (the Rauza) and the garden (Bageecha) completes the whole vista. It is hard to believe that it is a tomb, as all this grandeur, perfection, beauty and purity was sealing someone’s world.
I try to understand what Tagore’s famous lines on the Taj “One tear-drop...upon the cheek of time” really mean - A sorrowful dedication that remains forever with eternity, a tomb in remembrance of the Moghal Emperor’s beloved wife Mumtaz, a mausoleum where the emperor and his queen rest in peace; What better way for this world to remember someone after their demise? A tear drop upon the cheek of eternity, to stay forever, itched in the memory of all mankind.
As I write this travelogue, I could not help thinking about the millions of Begums and brothers who die unfortunately around the world every day. Many lives are stolen and sealed in gun fires and car bombs. A year has quickly passed after the death of Neda Soltan in Iran. The outcry and shock waves her death created all around the world as the video of her bleeding last minutes made headlines still remain fresh in my memories. There is no monumental tomb build in her memory or in memory of any of our sisters and brothers who die innocently around this world. "Will one tear drop on the cheek of time" be just enough for them?

Taj Mahal will remain as the most favorite place I ever visited. I dedicate this humble work and a word of prayer for all the Nedas of our world who deserve to be remembered forever.

Finally a big thanks to Sennen Chris Pinto, an international writer, and the founder, member and editor of the global website www.thetorchkindlers.com (a website that kindles hope, love and peace) who made it possible for this beautiful written travelogue record of 'Taj Mahal and Fathehpur Sikri' , by Kavipriya Muthuramalingam's to be published for my website.

"A Travelogue on Taj Mahal and Fathehpur Sikri" (Part 1) - written by Kavipriya Muthuramalingam

Thanks to Kavipriya Muthuramalingam's distinguished and personal travel experiences we'll be reading in the next two posts all about her trip to 'Taj Mahal and Fathehpur Sikri'. Kavippriya is a former torch bearer member and editor of the global website www.thetorchkindlers.com (a website that kindles hope, love and peace). She lives in CA, USA, and runs an orphanage PCWPeace in India with a few friends.

There are so many things you miss out living away from home - your sisters growing up, birthdays and anniversaries, your parents look a decade older in a matter of eight months and of course your best friends weddings. This year attending my best friend’s wedding was one of my priorities during my holiday cum visa renewal visit to India. While planning my itinerary to North India, I also decided to visit a few historical places including the Taj Mahal and the Fathehpur Sikri. As I arrived at the Delhi International Airport, I waited patiently for my rental car driver. Finally, after spotting the driver, our two day short journey into the Mogul Lands began…
Initially, my travel group decided to make a stop at the famous Fatehpur Sikri, spend the night in Agra and then start our tour to the Majestic Taj from the early hours of the following day. The drive from Delhi to Fathehpur Sikri was around three and half hours. As we travelled on a very sunny day along the streets of Delhi, hearing so much about the street foods of Delhi, we promptly decided stop at one the street carts to try some hot Parathas and ice cold Lassi. After having a sumptuous snack our car again headed again towards the fort of Fathehpur Sikri..
(Photos by Kavipriya)
The scorching heat kept me dozing in frequent intervals as the car swiftly drove toward Fathehpur, very often taking short cuts cutting through the villages, to enable us to reach our destination in time. Traveling through the villages was a unique experience. I saw old men with white turbans and faded tunics sitting under tress, women washing clothes outside their mud huts, children running in soiled clothes, and buffaloes standing everywhere. These glimpses of the villagers of Agra from inside the cab really touched my heart and I could not help wondering, how many more years will need to wait for them to see the light through their dimmed, mud paved streets.
(Photo by Kavipriya)
Finally, we made our way out of the villages and reached a highway that indicated Fatehpur Sikri, 35 Kms. As we reached Fathehpur Sikri, our guide explained to us the significance, history and beauty of this place. The mosque marks the phase of transition in Islamic art, as indigenous architectural elements blended with Persian elements.
(Photo by Kavipriya)
Will be continued...

Where the mind intersects with the world

Today, photography...

The world we live in is huge. One lifetime is simply not enough to see it all. Thanks to photography, globalization and the internet, today we are one click away from seeing the rest of the world. Besides, there is always a Los Angeles advertising photographer taking wonderful pictures of California, so when we see them, we get to want to visit the “wild wild west” immediately.

There is a place in photography where the mind intersects with the world, the universe. Not only the mind of the photographer, but also the viewer’s. He is the one who receives a part of our earth while looking at a specific photograph. The world also intersects with his mind, because all his experiences, the ups and downs he passed through and the things he has seen are creating the inner emotion.
Every time you look at a powerful photograph, there is something moving inside of you. A good image is supposed to have the right force to move something inside of you. If a photograph does something like this, then we should applause the photographer. He is the one who captured it all, the one who has amazing observation skills and passion for life.

Every time you click and share a photograph you are actually connecting to the universe. Have you ever realized that what’s on your mind has the chance to go out in the world unlike your body? Well, you should think about it now. Every picture posted by you, gets to travel miles.

So, you better take a good one. Capture something interesting, something that means a lot to you, and only then let it surf the universe. Especially, if you are a professional photographer, your mind and your ideas can connect with the rest of the world. Don’t let them be a bad representation of what’s inside of you. Let your ideas, create extraordinary photographs that would be sent from phone to phone and would be admired by many people who are in search of the beautiful.

Today, photography creates this special place for everyone, where the mind intersects with the world. There is nothing more awesome than having the power to travel to places all around the world. The art of photography is the one that gives us the opportunity to visit places, find out information and enjoy the beauty of the earth, through connecting our thoughts with the world.