Reblogged is a series of blog posts on my life in India coming from the weblogs I set-up. It’s an attempt to put the stories all in one place! The post The Taj Mahal – Finally! was originally posted on October 15, 2012, a month after I’ve taken the trip on September 9. Another post is connected to this one, which will be posted as a Viahera Vlog. The visit to Agra was a side trip before attending the official meetings of the Volunteer Committee (which I was a part of) at the VSO India office (read: no extra cost charged to VSO) to discuss policies for volunteers and put forth comments, opinions and suggestions from volunteers in India for improvement in programme support and effectiveness of volunteer placement and organisational partnerships.
Before coming to India, I only know a few things about this sub-continent and what stands out among these is the Taj Mahal. I barely know the story about Taj Mahal before I came here, only that it is a must-see monument, one of the seven wonders of the world.
While the Taj Mahal is one of the most popular seven wonders of the world, very little is known about the beautiful river in which bank it stands — the Yamuna River. Also referred to as Jamuna, the Yamuna River is the biggest tributary river to Ganges River, one of the holiest rivers in India and Hinduism. I learned that today by reading the Wikipedia entry on the Yamuna River since I’ve already forgotten! Hinduism promotes the belief that the Yamuna River is actually a goddess, and revered as such, with the legend that bathing in her waters will “free you from the torment of death” (I don’t really know what that meant). So, when you happen to visit Taj Mahal (or Agra Fort, where I took the photo), take a moment to enjoy the view the Yamuna River offers and maybe, just maybe, your whispered prayer or wish might be granted by the goddess. In the meantime, there’s a YouTube playlist widget (on the right) on my Taj Mahal and Agra Fort tour, with more Yamuna River views should you want to armchair travel!>
Yep, today is a personal post. I mean, of course, everything I share with you on this travel blog is from my personal experience but this one is different. It’s my birthday blog post! Today, I turn 26 and to commemorate the completion of my quarter life (assuming of course that I live to 100 years), I would like to share with you my 25th year in travel.
I first heard of Varanasi from a co-volunteer during my first week in India. He said that it is a must for him to visit Varanasi, the Hindus’ holy city. Varanasi is said to be the place where Hindus’ would like to die in, if they get the chance. I was told that it is believed that dying in Varanasi or having their remains sunk below or their ashes scattered across the Ganges River will either stop their reincarnation (maybe especially when they expect to rep bad karma in their next life) and/or go straight to heaven. Another reason for Hindu pilgrimage in Varanasi is the belief that you can be cleansed of your sins and cured of your illness once you drink from or bathe at the Ganges River.