Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Backpack Chronicles: The Taj (part 3)

read part 1
read part 2

Akbars Tomb

Series One continued: Do & Dee’s quest to check if the Taj Mahal was really made of marble.

I looked left. I looked right. I spotted a shade. I made a run for it.

Running on that blasted carpet was like running on lighted coals. I couldn’t take the heat any longer so I leaped from the carpet back on to the floor. As I landed I was surprised that the floor felt unusually cool under my feet.

I looked down and realized that I was standing on…



Yes! The Taj Mahal was indeed made of Marble!!

Garando: “Why would they even use rubber carpets? The marble’s 10 times cooler…”

Garandee: “Stop over re-acting! The carpet’s fine. I’m walking on it, see?”

Calluses does have its benefits.

We continued to walk towards the entrance of the Taj. Everything about it was spectacular!

The Taj 05

One of the 4 pillars erected on each corner of the Taj. Though the pillars looked straight, it slanted slightly outward so in the event of an earthquake, none of it will fall on the main structure.


The river behind the Taj. One popular myth is about a black Taj Mahal supposedly built somewhere across that river… but no proof was ever found.

The Taj 04

Garandee: “…?? Garando? Where are you?”

stone 01

What was most fascinating was all the intricate designs surrounding the Taj. All were made of semi-precious stones wedged tightly on carved marble.

The Taj 02

The same stones were used for writing the Koran on these huge arches surrounding the Taj.

stone 03

stone 02

Taking a closer look, I noticed that some of the stones were partially damaged, almost as if someone tried to pry it out. It will definitely take more than conventional tools to successfully remove it... heck, I could hardly touch the edges of the stone with my fingernails. It’s tightly wedged!

Taj Mahal Security: “Excuse me, Sir. May I ask what you are doing?”

Garando: “…!!!… uhhh… I was just checking how tightly wedged the stone was.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “It’s not what you think! It was like that when I saw it. I just like…uh… touching.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wanna touch you.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “uh…. I don’t touch people, just stones.”

Garandee: “Garando! There you are, let’s go inside already!”

Garando: “Coming dear!”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

The Taj 03

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the mausoleum and I think it made sense because they'd want to avoid such spoilers. In fact, I won’t even write about what’s inside so you’ll have something to look forward to when you get to visit the Taj yourself.


After we finished touring the mausoleum, it was time to bid the Taj Mahal farewell. I couldn’t stop looking back as we walked through the courtyard heading back from where we came.

By this time, Garandee and I were exhausted and extremely thirsty. It was close to 40 degrees, and we forgot to bring our water bottles so we were desperate for water. After exiting the final gate, I spotted some souvenir shops selling water!

Garando: “Dee!! Water!! Let’s go!”

Garandee: “Hai! Chop chop!”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “uhh friend… May I just mention that…”

Garando: “Puff, puff…. Agua….”

Garandee: “Thirsty po….”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “uh, excuse me but you may want to….”

Garando: “Two bottled water please!”

Store Person: “Of course. Here you are sir.”

Garando: “Finally!! glug! glug! glug!”

I must have chugged over half a liter that ice cold water.

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Uh, friend?”

Garando: “Ahhhhhhhh…..that felt good! Yes, you were saying?”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “I was trying to inform you not to buy water from these stores because there is a high probability of it being fake or re-sealed. There are a few more stores over there that are authorized sellers by our tourism office.“

Garando: “ !!!! ”

Garandee: “Wow, good thing I didn’t drink it yet. Do, you should give him extra tip.”

Garando mode:


Lantaw said...

Lucky you! Its a great destination.

Anonymous said...

Haha, like I have said, your posts always make me laugh. Fake water? Really?

Those semi-precious stones are very nice, very beautiful for the ceiling designs, so intricate. If dito yan sa Pilipinas, even if the stones are tightly wedged, may paraan papano kunin yan... hehehe.

Garando said...

Thanks for visiting. Yes, it was quite an experience! :)

Yes, more like fake water bottles. Some stores are notorious for re-sealing used water bottles. God knows where they got the water from before selling it again. What worries me is that this "practice" had already reached Manila.
LOL! It's sad, but you're right about the Philippines. Train tracks nga kayang kayang nakawin eh. LOL!

HalfCrazy said...

Wow, great photos. The Taj Mahal is really majestic! Would really love to go there someday! Oh yes I would!

Ha! Mga pinoy pala kayo. Really nice to see pinoys here na nag-bloblog rin ng ibang bagay, hindi lang yung puro "HOW TO EARN MONEY!" hahaha lol!

Really nice blog, enjoyed it.

Much Love,

Anonymous said...

was here blogwalking and make a friends with u, wow is nice and good pict u have

Unknown said...

i know people who got engaged there! but remember how lonely Princess Di looked, posing all alone?

i really enjoyed reading about your adventures...i like when such somber & lavish memorials can be viewed with cheeky irreverence heehee

Unknown said...

p.s. great photographs!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this taj chronicle and thanks for sharing those awesome photos :)
Love those intricate designs. Galing noh? I would love to touch those stones too :)

Anonymous said...

have you seen slumdog millionaire? there was a scene there where the lead actor's brother snatched a used water bottle, filled it up with tap water and then sealed it with super glue. he didn't even wash or rinse it. hahaha! i want to go to India someday. hayyy

Anonymous said...

ganda talaga garando! soooo nice! i want to go to india! plus, your pics are so great kaya naman gusto ko na sumakay ng plane to india as in now!! :)

you were right about not saying what's makes me want to go more! he! he!

thanks so much for sharing this! :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

wahahaha! bad! sobra, ganun ba kakapal ang kalyo ni garandee? love the photos ;-)

Garando said...

Hey thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! I'm glad you enjoyed my blog, hope to see you more often. ;) LOL! Yes, there are some really nice pinoy blogs out there... you can start with the ones in my blogroll. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comments! I'll bloghop over to yours in a bit. :)

Wow, proposals really? Now why didn't I think of that? LOL!
Yeah, our tour guide pointed the bench Princess Di sat on for the photo op, so I sat on it too... just so I can tell my folks back home that she and I shared the same bench. :D
I love writing about our experiences rather than facts and history.. I guess there's always wikipedia for that. Glad you enjoyed it! :D

You're most welcome! Yup, there are just things that we cannot resist not to touch, di ba? Which is also why a lot of D.O.M.'s deserve to be slapped. :D

I so want to watch that movie!! Hopefully I get to do that over the weekend! Yes, that's what you'll end up with if you're not careful where you buy your bottled water. Since then I always check the caps before I buy. But that shouldn't discourage anyone from visiting India. ;) Good thing my stomach's probably full of bacteria already so I didn't really fall ill from drinking my "fake" water. :D

Garando said...

You're welcome! There's only one requirement for India: dapat cowboy! LOL! Basta "cowboy" ka you will survive the adventure and have a whole lot of fun! I'm sure you will have a great time seeing the amazing sights in that country! Go go go! :D

Thank you! :)

Hehe Joke lang. pero half true. LOL! Buti na lang di nya alam yung word na yun, or else dead nanaman ako. :D

Anonymous said...

hay garando...ako pa! kayang kaya ko yan! i've been to many cowboy trips! i'm a very flexible traveler actually...i can be cowbow or sosyal anytime, kung ano hinihingi ng pagkakataon!!! he! he!

I wanna go to Taj!!!!

HalfCrazy said...

Ha! You got me very interested with your travels so yes, you'll see a whole lot more of me! I'll drop by in some of those blogs when I have the time! We Filipinos have to stick together, huh!? :P

Much Love,

Garando said...

sus, kayang kaya pala eh! :D Then you'll definitely enjoy India! Ay, may isa pa palang requirement. Matibay naman ilong mo no? :D

Thanks!! Yep, that's exactly what the Philippines needs. Pinoys supporting each other. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your series on India. Beautiful talaga. Heck, it almost made me want to go there. Almost.

Anonymous said...

love your india series. i especially like that very artistic last photo. about the fake water, there's that scene in slumdog millionaire where the two bida boys are re-sealing bottled water. and now this story of yours. note to self - be discriminatory when it comes to buying bottled water in india. =)

Garando said...

Thanks for visiting! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Thanks! Yep, it's that rampant in Delhi so I had to be extra careful comparing caps with the original ones. Heard it's starting to happen in Manila too... which is why I stopped buying bottled water from street vendors.

Alice said...

Great photos, Garando! It's nice to catch a glimpse of you and Garandee. Haha!

BTW, I want to know if anything happened after you drank that potentially fake water...

Garando said...

Thanks! Perhaps my stomach is probably full of bacteria already giving me stronger immunity, so I was fine after drinking that water. :D
Garandee wasn't so lucky though. She got very sick after eating some "Kulfi".

Anonymous said...

I loved all three parts of the blog, like going there myself.

I commend you guys going, very brave, brave act. And backpacking to boot! I'd love to, but I'm terrified of the smell--- and the food, with the smell. (Your cousin could confirm my smell issues, though i know the topic will never come up! hahahaha)

The only part i wish you srote about is the mausoleum... but I guess that is for another day! :D

Garando said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Backpacking in India was tough, but the experience and adventure is priceless. Don't worry about the smell too much, like anything else you'll probably get used to it in less than a day or two. :D

Dennis Villegas said...

wow so beautiful! you are so very lucky to see it before your eyes! this is my dream someday, to see Taj Mahal!

Garando said...

Thanks and I sure hope you will be able to live your dream soon! :) It's a beautiful place!

Anonymous said...

Last week, one of my girl friends sat beside me and blurted out "Tara, let's go to the Taj Mahal!"

I don't know where she got the idea but I replied, "Kailan?"

And now after reading this post, I want to go to India more!

I love Garandee's off-shoulder white top. :-)

Garando said...

Wow, I really hope you can visit India. I'm sure you will enjoy the adventure and the restaurants over there! Garandee says Thanks! :)

ms firefly said...

you have the most hilarious travel chronicles! you and dee make a very fine pair, and very good looking too!

ps. pictures are fantastic. whew.

Garando said...

Ms Firefly:
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I had fun writing about it. :D

Anonymous said...

hi! enjoyed this post :)

funny and lighthearted

perfect read for a happy morning!


Garando said...

Thank you! I'm glad my stories were somehow able to help brighten up your mornings.