We arrived in Agra at the wonderful Coral Tree homestay; it’s very nice and comfortable and we had the 2nd floor that we shared with our Australian friends (we met back in Jodhpur). Plus, the owners, 2 brothers and their families live there too. One night they cooked a homemade Indian dinner for all of us with the most amazing dahl I have ever had. They also served us an awesome dessert called petha that is unique to Agra and delicious.
Why was the TaJ Mahal built?
It was built for the king’s dying wife after she gave birth to her 14th child. She made the king promise to build something massive and amazing for her, and clearly, he did. Did you know that unlike most royal marriages, theirs was truly one in love? Yes, now that is a Prince Charming! Unfortunately, this love story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending as King Shah Jahan was in the process of building his own burial palace across the river but one of his son’s overthrew him from power; the King was imprisoned in the fort and sadly, he could see the Taj from his cell.
We woke up at 5:00am the following morning to go to the Taj Mahal and it was definitely worth getting up early for. We walked a very short distance from the Coral Tree and were in the first group of 50 people to get in, so we got some nice photos before the crowds. The Taj looks infinity times more beautiful in person than in photos, and so much bigger! We went inside but spent most of our time outside. We walked around the beautiful garden next to the Taj and mostly took and endless amount of photos that it would take years to upload all of them for you to see! But one unique story happened when we were walking about…
The Monkey story
Background knowledge to know before reading ‘The Monkey Story’: A few days ago when we were in Jaipur, we wanted to visit the Monkey Temple there and asked our driver if he could take us. He said that he could, if we wanted to, but it may not be a great idea because a couple years ago he had a Canadian customer who visited the Monkey Temple and got bitten by a monkey! He immediately went to the hospital for rabies shots! (My dad says Canadians attract monkeys and tigers – see earlier blog on Tigers!) That, without a doubt, convinced us not to go.
So back to the Taj Story: Mom and I were walking around the Taj when we saw a stampede of monkeys running and jumping along a fence. We kept our distance not getting too close because of the earlier incident that our driver shared. But suddenly a monkey came up from behind and grabbed my skirt! A large papa monkey, not a cutesy little baby one. I immediately started running, crying and screaming, “MOMMA!! Get it off of me!! MOMMA!!” I was still running to my mom and the monkey was still hanging on tightly to my skirt. When I finally got to her, he let go and went off in his group. I had no scratches and he did not touch my skin so the worst that happened was all the other tourists around me saw my undies! But it took us both awhile to calm down and was super scary considering the rabies shots alternative!
After what already felt like a full day, we came back to the house and ate a yummy Indian breakfast. The Aussie family arrived later that morning from their overnight train ride from Udaipur. We played lots of games that day and also went to the Agra Fort in the evening (where the King was jailed). The two teenagers, Jasmine and Sebastian, were sleeping so the tweens, Isabelle and I, went with the parents to the fort. We had a ton of fun running around and taking jump shots.
It was so fun to hang out with our friends again and we got to see them one last time before we left when we were in Delhi; one of the highlights of our travels has been meeting and playing with new friends like Jas and Issy – I hope we get to see them again soon either in Florida or Australia!
Next up: New Delhi – where we only chilled out at the JW Marriott with our Aussie friends. 🙂