Saturday, October 13, 2018

India’s Golden Triangle: When A Man Loves A Woman (October 2018)

I’m a sucker for a good love story. In fact, that’s what brought me here to India. I had to lay eyes on the sad, yet amazingly beautiful ending to one of the greatest love stories there ever was.

It’s the story of the Taj Mahal, one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned during the early 1600s. Like many rulers, he married multiple women for political reasons. However, one woman truly captured his heart. She became his third wife, and was the only one he ever married for love.

He gave her the title Mumtaz Mahal, which means “jewel of the palace.” She outshined other women with her beauty, intelligence, and confidence. Basically, she had that “sauce.” 

He also gave Mumtaz the world - as well as 14 children.

Sadly, she died in 1631 while giving birth to the last child, a girl. (Shah Jahan never saw this daughter because he forever blamed her for her mother’s death.) However, before Mumtaz died, she made Shah Jahan promise three things: 1) take care of their children, 2) never marry again, and 3) build a monument in her honor.

He did his best on the first two promises (it is believed he eventually remarried, again for political reasons), but he SHOWED OUT on the last promise.

He brought in architects and designers to help him create one of the world’s most beautiful monuments in her memory. Made out of ivory-white marble and a variety of precious and semi-precious stones, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to build, and 22,000 workers to build it. 

In the years leading up to his death, he sat in a fort for hours (where he was imprisoned), tearfully staring across the river at the monument.

Words cannot truly describe how stunning this place is. The entrance gate, the monument itself, the inside of it where both of them now rest side by side (no pictures allowed inside), the lush God. What a sight to behold.

Shah Jahan adored Mumtaz Mahal, and because of his promise to her, she - as well as their love-  continues to live centuries later, and leave millions of visitors from all over the world in awe.

(Custom made choli and saree: Jaipur Handicrafts)

Friday, October 12, 2018

India’s Golden Triangle: Sending A Message Without Saying A Word (October 2018)

What began as a method of comfort (and cuteness) has turned into quite a conversation starter during my journey here in India. I’m talking about the faux locs I’m sporting as my crown.

Let me tell you, these midnight-colored ropes swinging across my back are bringing all the boys to the yard. And the girls, too. 

India’s Golden Triangle: The Royal Treatment (October 2018)

Back in the 17th century, during times of war, you would find ladies of Jaipur’s royal family gathered here under the Ganesh Gate to welcome their men home from battle. The elaborate gate is one of seven inside the Amber Fort, located just a few miles outside of Jaipur. This one serves as the entrance to three private palaces of the maharajas (kings), all situated around a beautiful garden.

India’s Golden Triangle: Henna’d Up and Haggled Out in Jaipur (October 2018)

My tour of India’s Golden Triangle continued today in Jaipur, which is typically a 4 to 6 hour drive from Delhi, depending on traffic. However, since many people (as well as rhesus monkeys, cows, camels, and even an elephant) decided to take the same route, the trip turned out to be closer to seven hours.

India’s Golden Triangle: When A Man Loves A Woman (October 2018)

I’m a sucker for a good love story. In fact, that’s what brought me here to India. I had to lay eyes on the sad, yet amazingly beau...