Welcome back! After the Eggs introduction to India, they are ready for some sight-seeing!
In the morning, the Eggs received a lesson on the Taj Mahal as they boarded the bus for the three-hour ride to the wonder of the world. Rashi’s mom packed them some snacks for their journey.
Shelly stood up in the front of the bus and began to educate the group. “The Taj Mahal is a very, very, VERY, large white marble mausoleum. A mausoleum is a tomb. An emperor had it built as a tribute to the memory of his beloved wife. It is a miraculous work of art that took 22 years to build. It was finally finished in 1653. It’s breathtaking! Wait until you see it!”
As the bus pulled in to the site, the Eggs sat in silence, overwhelmed with the magnificence of the structure. They walked along the reflecting pool that led up to the Taj Mahal. Rashi explained what the minarets were and gave them shoe coverings as they entered the structure.
The day was spent marveling at the Taj Mahal. The windows, the art, the sheer size of it and the respectful silence had a profound effect on the Eggs. On the way home, they sat silent in appreciation of their day.
The next week was spent preparing for Bani’s wedding. Rashi treated the girls to a mehndi celebration, where they picked out beautiful, intricate patterns to be painted with a henna dye on their hands. It is thought to bring love, good fortune and protection to the bride and groom. Rashi told them to be careful with their hands until the dye dried.
When they were done, Rashi was going to show Megg and Seggourney the room where the jewelry and wedding dress was kept, but her mother called her away to help with some preparations. Megg and Seggourney decided to enter the room on their own. They were so excited at the site of the beautiful dresses and jewelry, Megg accidentally rubbed her hand against a piece of white cloth that they mistakenly took for a wedding wrap for the bride. She forgot about the henna that wasn’t quite dry yet.
“Oh no! Look what I’ve done! I ruined Bani’s wedding dress!” Megg cried uncontrollably while Seggourney tried to console her. “Let’s go tell Rashi. We have to be honest.”
The girls ran to tell Rashi what happened. When Rashi found out it was a white piece of cloth, she was relieved. “Bani’s dress is red. Brides in India wear red to represent life and success.”
What a relief!
Since the Taj Mahal is considered one of the wonders of the modern world, research and find out what else in the world is considered a “wonder” and why.
We saw the bride in India wears red. Look up other interesting Indian wedding rituals and their meanings.
Have a “mehndi hand painting party!” Instead of using real dye (which lasts for weeks), use a safe, non-toxic, washable paint for your kids and see what creative designs they come up with for their hands (they can even paint each other’s hands!) You can also check the Internet for design examples.
Next week – a wedding celebration, a cricket match and a tiger reserve!
See you then!
S. Ciara Mitaro