Vikram Oberoi, Chairman of a chain of uber luxury hotel properties in India and parts of the Middle East is a graduate of Pepperdine's MBA program. He generously hosts our program's stay in Agra every year, including, happily, this one. I hope my photos give you a bare idea of how lovely the property is. The view out my window is of the Taj Mahal in the distance. After an easy train ride from Delhi, we had a well deserved day off to enjoy the pool and grounds at the hotel. Honestly, I just couldn't have been happier.
My lovely room
The Pool from my Lounge Chair
That amazing day lounging poolside however paled when compared to the next morning when we woke early to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. It really is more beautiful than photos can show. The Indian marble reflects light, and the detail of the carvings and intricate inlaid semi-precious stones is exquisite.
The Entrance Gate - an amazingly gorgeous building all by itself
The Taj seen as you walk through the Entrance Gate.
It takes your breath away.
A Mogul Emporer had the Taj Mahal built as a memorial to his wife who died while birthing their 14th child. It is about 12 stories tall but doesn't look it as it is equally as wide. We toured the Taj and wandered the grounds (there is also a mosque and matching "guest house") ogling and snapping photos for hours. The entire complex is known for it's perfect symmetry and exceptional beauty.
A shot as the sun broke through the clouds
Finally we reluctantly left and headed to the Red Fort of Agra. The fort is where the builder of the Taj actually lived as well as a couple generations before and after him. The complex is huge, included a giant moat, and inside it was possible to imagine how those very rich rulers had lived.
Here part of the ceiling is restored so you can see how it would have looked.
The builder of the Taj could gaze across the river at the monument he built to the wife he loved. That was before his son killed all his brothers and eventually him, only to take the throne and destroy the dynasty (no happy ending here).
The best part of the fort though, as far as I was concerned, was the people watching. Indians come from all corners of the country to visit, and I especially enjoyed the range of their attire.
The Oberoi also arranged for us to have an exceptionally fabulous celebration dinner to mark the end of our time in Agra. We were served 5 courses, each of which featured from four to six separate dishes, of specially prepared indian specialties. It was beyond lovely.
The problem with this post is that I am fast running out of superlatives. The two days in Agra called for every one I could muster. If the Taj Mahal isn't already on your bucket list, then you should add it!
Next we head to Delhi.