|This morning we were up and at 'em early to catch the 7:15 a.m. train to the Mughal city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. We arrived in Agra at about 10:00 a.m. and were transported to our hotel in an electric rickshaw. After getting checked in we made our way to the Red Fort of Agra which was built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century and was added to by successive emperors including Shah Jahan who constructed the Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque. After our visit to the Red Fort we toured a carpet factory where we were shown how carpets are traditionally hand made....no wonder they are so expensive....in the weaving process the weavers are thought to be singing when in fact, because they have only one design template to work from, a caller calls out the colours and number of knots to be tied by each weaver and the weavers repeat it back in response thus making it sound like a song. The carpets are woven in the villages and it takes approximately three months to weave a six foot by nine foot carpet which is then brought to the factory where it is washed and sheared, treated and groomed into the final product for purchase. They were all very beautiful. After the carpet factory we enjoyed another delicious Indian lunch at Maya Restaurant, following which we made our way back to our hotel to rest before an evening visit to the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built by the Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, (he had three), Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to her 14th child. It took some 20,000 craftsmen and labourers 22 years to build and was completed in 1653. While we have all seen images of this magnificent monument, viewing it in person takes your breath away........it is like a postcard in real life. We stayed to watch the sunset and reflect on the wonderful views.....