I remember. When I visited Agra and the Taj Mahal, the day was muggy and over cast. I wondered if the air was polluted. What I saw there, the buildings, the people, and the terrain, had a scrim over them. I wanted to part it and see their colors, one of the joys of visiting India. The sky, the air, was grayish, grayish blue, and flat, without contour.
I repeated, “They are gray clouds and they will pass. They are gray clouds and they are passing.”
In any case I did see the Taj Mahal, a gigantic crypt, a mausoleum made of marble, built for a favorite wife of three of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who reigned between 1628 and 1658. It is a marble grave. But gorgeous. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
Mark Twain wrote about the Taj Mahal when he visited India: “The world is split into two parts, those that have seen the Taj Mahal and those who have not.” The Taj Mahal of Agra is truly one of the eight wonders of the world. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!
“It was as if he had two faces, one of utmost calm, one of furious action; and he wore both with ease. He was like the animal whose face he wore, able to sit in silence for hours, without moving a muscle, then flying like a raging storm into battle, returning again to perfect calm when the fight was over.” ―Kaoru Kurimoto, The Leopard Mask
I saw two leopards in the wild. On two occasions I went on safari in an open jeep into the bush outside of Bera, India.
Our guide and host Mr. Singh from Castle Bera took us in the late evening to a carcass of a cow which lay on a dirt road and which he suspected had been killed earlier by a leopard in the area. He knew one would return.
We waited nearby. Waiting. Talking quietly. A herder walked along the road, returning home. As he passed he could have put out his hand and have touched the bush that lined the road.
Then the guides spotted a leopard, a small one, in the bush where the herder had just passed. It lay quietly in the bush, waiting. The herder had not seen it.
The next day we returned to the same area and searched again. Soon the spotters with us found a second leopard, a much larger one than the one we saw the previous day; it was resting on the side of the mountain. Waiting. Watching. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
“Some kinds of animals burrow in the ground; others do not. Some animals are nocturnal, as the owl and the bat; others use the hours of daylight. There are tame animals and wild animals. Man and the mule are always tame; the leopard and the wolf are invariably wild, and others, as the elephant, are easily tamed.” –Aristotle
“I confess freely to you, I could never look long upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections.” –William Congreve
“You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can only make a monkey out of the voters every four years!” –Pat Paulsen
I have written about India in some earlier posts. My trip to India in the fall of 2013 altered my life. I have traveled to many countries, but none have been so strange and ‘other worldly’ as India. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
But wait, there’s more!
I mentioned in an earlier post that I found India to be mysterious, colorful, noisy and bustling, and that I felt like a stranger in a strange land. Jodhpur is similar.
I found the people beautiful in Jodhpur, too. Dynamic. Colorful.
Taking photos of people is an art and very difficult. How does one do it without intruding into their lives and treating them as tourist attractions? like their monuments? or their museums? (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
But wait, there’s more!