There are four gates walking to the Taj Mahal. Walking through the East Gate, you first walk into the courtyard, which is the back of the Taj mahal. The people begin to crowd up in between the back building and the entrance to the Taj mahal. From a glimpse, I see the landscape of the Taj.
Unexpectedly, my heart begins to beat faster and with my first glance a moment of “Omm” comes in my head like I stepped into heaven for a few minutes. I have arrived at the one and only-Taj Mahal. I just sat and stared amongst a nice group of Sorority girls visiting from the states. We say to one another, “Wow it really is something special after all.” I did not expect to be so entranced with it’s beauty, but I was from start until finish. My spirit is tingling through my body constantly- a very good sign of a real sacred place and people.
Many tourists say it takes 1 hour to see the Taj mahal and as usual it takes me 5 hours. Tourists asks to take photos with me and I decline except for one adorable Japanese lady. When I say I am from the US, she says with such excitement, “My English teacher in America, in America.” We take the typical photo of touching the tip of the pillar and we part ways.
There are way more Indian tourists than locals, which is nice for me. There are tourists wearing saris and some dressed in shorts and flip flops- such nice attire for a wonder of the world-oh Tourists. I head to a bench where I write and read. The weather in Agra is just perfect with a breeze that feels like it is coming from the heavens-perhaps I am rewarded from God after my hotel and Punjab experience.
My mind is moving a mile a minute pouring out words onto the pages, observing kids and families thinking about love and marriage, and observing the different cultures. On the bench next to me sits the French, Russian, a family from Saudi Arabia, and the Americans. These two Americans from the stupid award state, “California” were so naïve and with my theories on American culture-I do not blame this couple rather I blame the culture they were born into. The boy talks like he is stoned asking his tour guide random questions about the Taj. He talks about his experience in India and his feeling that people do not like him because he comes from America. The tour guide sympathizes with him and nicely explains how some people act superior to Indians, which creates a cultural clash. He says that all foreigners are equal regardless of whether or not they come from US, Europe or Asia. The girl speaks up saying that this is not necessarily true because they come from a superpower country who hold power over India. “Money is the evil of the world” her boyfriend states. The tour guide says this just maybe true, but happiness comes first in India before power.
Here in the Taj Mahal two cultures come together and learn from one another- these beautiful cultural interactions I love to witness.