Beauty and the Beast – The Taj and Old Delhi

After looking at my countdown clock app a zillion times, Naveen arrived for a 2 week visit to India. After four days showing him around Ahmedabad (aka eating Gujurati food), we headed up north to Delhi and Agra. First stop – the Taj Mahal.  The Taj was built in the 1600s (by 20,000 workers over 22 years) by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who made it in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Not so fun fact; the emperor was imprisoned by his son right after finishing, but left a small window, torturing him with a view of his masterpiece.

Seeing the Taj was literally like looking at a picture. When people ask me, “did it live up to your expectation?” I say,  “it was exactly how I imagined it, and anything else would have been a disappointment”. In my experience, when something is one of the most visited sites in the world, it’s usually for a reason. We didn’t even take too many photos, because we just couldn’t stop staring. We were insanely lucky too because after nearly 120 degree weather the day before, there was a rainstorm while we were touring the red fort (seen in a couple photos after the Taj), which meant that the weather was cool and the sky was black when we got to the Taj Mahal – intensifying the white color and making it stand out even more.

The next pictures are from old town in Delhi. Insanely swamped with people, wires, and pollution, Old Delhi is probably what people picture when they think of India. We had fun taking it in for an hour, and eating at a 100 year old restaurant in the Muslim quarter called Karim’s.  The story of Karim’s supposedly dates back to the middle of the 19th century and a man called Mohd Aziz, who is said to have been a cook for the royal court in the Red Fort, in what would turn out to be the last days of the Mughal empire. They family still cooks using the same recipes, in which is “arguably Delhi’s most famous restaurant.” Here’s an iPhone photo from the outside of the restaurant.

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