Taj Mahal – Sunday morning

It has been an incredible trip with incredible Pace students! France

Jai yo!
We crawled out of our beds early this morning at the request of our guide Gyanesh in order to see the Taj Mahal in the brilliance of the sunrise. It was entirely worth it. The white marble mausoleum is impossible to do justice with a picture or mere words. This ivory palace was constructed by a shah according to the dying wishes of his favourite of three wives.
We then perused an emporium where we purchased some exotic gem rings and haggled successfully for scarves, though unsuccessfully for ashtrays.
At a rest stop along the way to Delhi, we broke for lunch at a rest stop where to our surprise, the merchants were uninterested in bargaining.
In Delhi, we went to my favourite site so far, the Lotus Temple. Designed by the same architect as was the Sydney opera house, the white marble temple resembles a massive lotus flower, with every petal drawing elegant curving lines up to the apex of the ceiling. Inside, the centre of the ceiling features a magnificent golden lotus flower window. The building is surrounded by gorgeous cerulean pools that we were all dying to dip our feet into as we walked barefoot on the burning hot sandstone in order to respect the religious beliefs of the worshippers there. Meditating within the temple surrounded by other silent temple goers was a spiritual and surreal experience.
We are all elated to return to the Hilton’s fluffy beds after our eventful day.
Thank youse much to all the parents for sending us on this phenomenal trip! It has been an unforgettable experience.

India has been tools too.
-Katchhhhhhhhhh (as everyone affectionately calls me [Katja])

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India -The Taj

Namaste, USA!
Today we woke up bright and early at 6:30 in Jaipur in order to embark upon a seven hour bus journey to Agra. Along the way we stopped at Fatehpur Sikri, a famous fort built the grandfather of the maharaja who built the Taj Mahal, which we are all elated to tour tomorrow. Beautiful dusty pink architecture mesmerized us all as we explored this old abandoned fort. One of the courtyards featured a huge Parcheesi board, which the maharaja once filled with concubines in colorful garments, using them as human game board pieces.
On the way from Fatehpur Sikri to our hotel in Agra, we encountered truly chaotic traffic which delayed us a little under an hour. This experience has indubitably made us all far more appreciative of Atlanta’s traffic environment.

Subsequently, we travelled to the Agra fort, resplendent in even more lavishly designed architecture than that at Fatehpur Sikri. Right near the Agra fort was the largest gate in the world.We took a picture on the steps rather than walking up to tour it due to the severe bee hive presence in luxurious dome-ceiling entryway. After. A long and exhausting day of tourism and photography, we were all elated to arrive at yet another extravagant India hotel in the evening where we dined elegantly at the hotel restaurant buffet.

Katja

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India – Jaipur and Amber Fort

Greetings from Jaipur!
We drove from Ranthembhore National Park to Jaipur yesterday all extremely excited that the days of game drives and jungle nights were behind us. (not that all of our 1000 safaris weren’t amazing) Our hotel is absolutely phenomenal; as we type this we are sipping exotic fruit cocktails (non-alcoholic of course) and indulging in the hotels lavish dessert buffet.

Monkeys, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

Okay, so we did find the elusive Bengal Tiger. It was an incredible sighting! Jon was in position to get an great close up of the tiger as it passed literally between two jeeps. The videos show our arrival at the train station in Ranthambhore. We are off to Jaipur tomorrow.

France

 

Today we got an early start at 5am for our first safari. We spent around 2 hours stalking a female Bengal tiger and we finally got close enough to be safe but get some great pictures! Other than the tiger, we also saw the old cast of characters including monkeys, deer, bison, gaurs, peacocks, other birds, and a couple elephants. Then we returned back to the lodge and walked over to the village nearby to get a feel for the daily life of rural India. We got to go inside one of our guides’ house and took some pictures of the villagers, and the colorful surroundings. We took a sweltering hike back to the lodge ate lunch and got some much needed R&R. At 4 we departed in the jeeps for our second shorter safari. This time we saw a black bear, which our guide said even he had never even seen so close. Seeing the bear brought The Jungle Book to life! We ended the night with a delicious traditional Indian dinner including sweet corn soup which was very popular with the group. Tomorrow we will be traveling in the car to our next exciting destination!

Namaste,
Annie and Elle

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