Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Did You Win Any Brownie Points?

Okay, if you couldn't figure out what country I've been in recently from the picture clues in my last post, this last clue should give it away:

The Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 1600's as a tomb and testament of love to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to her 14th child.
I have been in the beautiful country of India!

Brownie points* to those who guessed it correctly!  This was my second trip to India.  I first visited India in 2005 and was fortunate enough to be able to tour some parts of the country then. We visited the city of Agra during my first trip (extra brownie points to Denise for correctly guessing that!), which is where the Taj Mahal is located, as well as Agra Fort, where the photo of this fabulous puzzle lawn came from.

puzzle lawn inside a courtyard of Agra Fort
In addition to fabulous lawns, I couldn't help but be impressed by the stunning architecture of Agra Fort.

The Agra Fort has a long and colorful history - records from 1080 AD mention it being captured by an invading force!  After several other turbulent government turnovers, it was eventually rebuilt in the 1500's by the famous emperor Akbar the Great.  He rebuilt it using red sandstone, the reason it is also known as 'the Red Fort of Agra'.

Agra Fort also plays a small part in the tragic love story surrounding the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan, the ruler who built the Taj Mahal, ended up being imprisoned at the fort by his own overly ambitious son. He allegedly spent his last days laying in the tower there that overlooked the Taj Mahal, gazing at his monument to his beloved wife.

Musamman Burj, the tower which offers the best views of the Taj Mahal from the fort
On my first trip to India, we also visited the beautiful state of Kerala, located on the southwestern tip of India (brownie points to Usha for identifying that location!)  I think you can see why it is sometimes referred to as 'God's own country'.

Besides being a prime destination for tourism, Kerala is also where many spices are grown and produced, such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.  Rice, coconuts, cashews, coffee, and tea are also exported from there.

This is a tea plantation.  Workers make their way throughout the rows of bushes, handpicking the leaves for tea.
At some point I would love to take my kids to see all of these beautiful sites.  This trip to India, however, we mostly stayed with Mr. Red House's grandparents and relatives, who live in the city of Bangalore.  We did take one other little trip, but you will have to wait until the next post to find out more about that...

*Sorry, brownie points are still not redeemable for actual brownies..


  1. Lucky you! It looks fabulous! I can only imagine the delicious meals you had!

    1. Ha, I think I gained about 10 pounds this current trip! Too much good food!

  2. Such a exotic and beautiful land, it must have been a wonderful trip.

    Interesting to see it on your blog, when in our minds it's so far away...

    Thanks for the pie crust tips, on my way to store now, lol.


    1. It was definitely a little surreal, especially seeing the Taj Mahal! (Though it's surprisingly small on the inside.) Good luck with your pies - I'm sure your new crusts will work great ;)

  3. We also took a trip to India 10 years ago with our son, his wife and her parents who are from Pune. We had a fabulous trip to all the major destinations. Such a magical place. We spent several days in Pune in the family home and met all the relatives. There were many. Then we went to Kerala. A welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Loved all the food, too. Last night we had samosas for a pre dinner snack and I wondered to myself about whether the English meat and potato pie was taken to India by the British or brought it from India! So very similar, except for the frying bit.

    1. There are so many different parts of India and so many amazing places to see! Kerala is so beautiful and laid back, isn't it? The meat and potato pie definitely could have been influenced by Indian cooking - so much of English food seems to have Indian origins with curries and whatnot. I've been to England a few times, but I don't feel like I've had a lot of truly English cooking (though that could be because most of the time I've stayed with my in-laws when they lived there, so I ate a lot of Indian food!)

  4. Indie how gorgeous all these vistas and scenes...

  5. Agra Fort is amazing, as is its puzzle lawn! I am glad you posted these lovely photos, because the images in my mind of India are of crowds and poverty. It is good to see the beauty!

  6. Wonderful photos! Love to see photos of places I'll likely never get to.

  7. Welcome to Indie!
    I was gone a long time ...Sorry.
    Your post is very beautiful and egotistical.
    I admire the great pictures.
    I send warm greetings.


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