Hi again!

After a few months of inactivity I'm happy to let you know I'll be starting to write again soon. As to the motive for this intermission it couldn't be a happier one - the arrival of a new family member!!

As you may guess between the preparations and the welcoming to the family of my new born all my time has been reduced to far less than one needs. The past months have been both exhausting and exciting. I'm always tired but happy about it - it's a ride!

Since my youngest is now starting to let the family sleep, I'm hoping to have a bit more of free time so I expect to be writing again soon. Like in the past, we didn't let the new family member reach six months without a flight! It was a hit and I'll be sharing all about it in my next few posts! Just for a starter I'll leave you with a pic of our latest friend...

As you may guess it was absolutely crazy the luggage packing for a fifteen day trip over the Atlantic. Clothes for two adults and two kids along with baby food in two medium sized bags and a trolley? Is it even possible... Well, of course it is :)

Be back soon with some useful tips on how to pack for kids ;)

"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.