India Highlights

The view out my balcony (Leela Palace, Bangalore). Possibly THE best hotel I have ever stayed at. A visit to a Hindu Temple The inner sanctum...
Just a few of the many colorful incarnations of Hindu Gods A representation of the nine planets. Getting fresh coconut milk for breakfast.
I was told the each of the 22 small domes on the roof represent a year of construction The scroll work and writing is all inlay -- being larger at the top to compensate for perspective. This first view of the Taj Mahal takes your breath away, as it is perfectly framed in the entryway.
The morning mist gives the Taj an ethereal glow. The inlay work is exquisite. If you shine a flashlight on the reddish stones, they glow orange as the light is conducted. A close-up of the carvings reveals the craftsmanship sought during the construction (1631-1653 a.d.)
Each of the minarets are tilted outward -- if they collapse, they will fall away from the Taj! The Taj is magnificent from any angle.
The great symbol of India, Shah Jahan Artisans practice the age-old tradition used for doing the inlay work on the Taj itself. Agra Fort began life in 1565 as a principally military structure. It is hard to appreciate how "thick" the outer walls are without being there.
I do not think I would want to be an army trying to attack the gate... Yes, believe it or not, we are actually driving on the main road through the village. A bit crowded, eh? The abandoned capital city of Fatehpur Sikri, must have been quite the scene in its heyday (1570-1586)
Guest rooms (?) looking out along the banks of the Yamuna River. The Hall of Public Audiences The amount of carving and detail work is amazing. Even more so, this city/palace was full of symbols from all major religions.
This is said to mimic the mosque at Mecca. A Qoranic inscription reads: "The world is a bridge, pass over it but build no house upon it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for an eternity." Akbar People would tie a piece of yarn to the "jalis" (carved marble screen) and make a wish.
Dung is laid out to dry... it is used as an important fuel source for cooking, etc. A service of song and worship was taking place. The conch is understood as the source of all existence -- a cosmic womb, for when the conch is blown, it is said to emulate the primordial sound  Aum (Om) from which all else emanates.
There was a 10-minute ritual of blessing elements on this memorial to the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. An ambitiuos project to create another tower -- only this time, twice the size of the Qutb Minar. You can see how far they got by the time Ala-ud-dim died...
Beneath the ground are 24 rays emanating outward... both for support and for the 24 hours in a day. With an impressive diameter of 15m at the base, the red sandstone is adorned with carvings. The ~73m tower consists of 5 stories, tapering to 2.5m diameter at the top.
The 7m pillar predates the Qutb Minar. Mysteriously, this 98% pure iron pillar does not rust. Scientists are not sure how such an item was cast 1600 years ago. A street barber ;=)
This 42m high "All India War Memorial" bears the names of 90,000 soldiers. The guard ensures the eternal flame for the Unknown Soldier is honored. Built (1980-1986) to resemble a lotus flower, it is set among 9 pools of water, and surrounded by gardens.
The street/marketplace vendors always seemed to have beautiful presentations of their wares. Completed in 1648 by Shah Jahan, this fort was a major display of Mughal power. The Indian flag flying over the Lahore Gate was a national desire to signify Independence from Britain. Children doing what children do... whilst on tour ;=)
Vendors set up on the way into the fort. (This seemed very tame compared to Mont Saint-Michel!) Probably older than the fort... The inlay work is everywhere, and is beautiful
The flight from Delhi to Frankfurt was awesome (as I love mountains & snow). There is a lot of snow down there!