Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck See the Countryside of India

We were surprised to see so much open land between cities.   Our tour covered the Golden Triangle.   The three cities were Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.   These cities are all within an easy day drive.   Traveling by bus, we were able to see more of India.   The farm land was a pleasant surprise.

Man working in his field

This man is working in his field.   Something is happening.   We are pulling off the road.   Our bus is broken.

Our bus is broken

Our driver and assistant tried to repair the bus, but a new one is coming for us.   We get off the bus, stand outside enjoying the breeze and look around.

Herding goats

A man is herding these goats.


We like the shape of this hut.   Another day we stopped for lunch.

Statue of elephant at entrance to our lunch stop

Mom wanted a picture of the elephant statue.   She really liked it.  Then she decided to get a photo of us with the elephant statue in the background.

Friendly man poses with ducks

This friendly gentleman offered to pose with us.   Isn’t that great?   We loved it!  Camel carts.

Camel carts, working

These are working camel carts.   We do not know what they are carrying, but it looks interesting.   On our way back to Delhi, we noticed something along the road.

Motorcycle, fruit stand and monkeys

The motorcycle stopped by the fruit stand, but there are monkeys here.   Jesse, our guide, gets off the bus, purchases watermelon, cuts it up and feeds the monkeys and cow.

And a cow

There are monkeys coming from everywhere.

All eating watermelon

We tourists, humans and ducks, are enthralled at this scene.   Don’t  you love it? There is even a monkey on top of the cart.   Well, our time in India is ending.   We are back in Delhi now.

Hindu symbol, behind tree

This Hindu statue is partially behind a tree, but it was the only we could get a picture without a vehicle in our way.   And yes, there are many vehicles here.

Lines at toll booth

This is not a parking lot.   All these cars have drivers and they are in several lines to pay at the toll booth.   Very few cars in the rural areas, but the cities are really crowded.   We came to India with SmarTours travel company.   We think they did a very nice tour for us.   If you are thinking of visiting India, see what is offered at http://www.SmarTours.com   Well, this is the end.

Farewell to India

Farewell to India.   We had a wonderful time and saw so much.


Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Explore Jaipur, India

We saw so many things here that we do not have at home in Colorado.   Jaipur is the capital of the desert state of Rajasthan.   This elephant is waiting for attention from a tourist.

Tourist with elephant

This young lady is petting the elephant’s trunk.   Later she gave the elephant a snack.  And if elephants on the steet wasn’t enough, look at this.

Camel cart

A camel cart.   We have seen horse carts, donkey carts, and now a camel cart.  Not even for tourists, but a working camel cart.   Here, in front of the Rajasthan craft center, you can see many forms of transportation.

Variety of transportation

The man is riding his elephant.   A man on a motor bike is driving on the street.   Also, a person pushing a cart of merchandise is working toward his destination.  And, of course, cars are driving on the street.   But this is India, and what animal is famous for being on the streets?

Soapy’s mom with cow

Here behind our hotel, Soapy’s mom is enjoying seeing this cow.  The cow is holy, so it is not working.  We were walking back from another craft center.   We purchased some items of beautiful white marble.   Marble from the same mine as the marble for the Taj Mahal.  On the edge of town, we stopped at the Amber Fort.

Amber Fort

This fort/palace was the ancient capital of Rajasthan.   The view from the top is beautiful, with views of the nearby mountains and lake.   We rode an elephant to the fort.   It was summer and it gets hot here in the desert, so the elephants do not work after 11:00 a.m.   We were surprised, but we like the elephant so we don’t want him to get too hot and get sick.   Unfortunately, this is where we had camera difficulties.   So, we will not be able to show the pink facades of old town.    Jaipur is known as the Pink City.   The market was interesting also.   We will see if we can get our camera adjusted.   We don’t think it is broken, just needs an adjustment.   We really like Jaipur.

Entering Jaipur, India with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Approaching Jaipur, the capital city of the western, desert state of Rajasthan, India, we see this building on the hill.

Pretty building on hill

We do not know what it is, but we thought it was beautiful.

Really thought this was beautiful

So white and impressive.   Our first stop, 2.5 miles (4 km) from Jaipur is Jal Mahal.

Jal Mahal. Water Palace

Jal Mahal means ‘water palace”.    Jal Mahal is in Man Sagar Lake.   This is Rajput style of architecture.

Zeb and Soapy by Jal Mahal in Man Sagar Lake

We like this palace.   It has 5 stories and with the lake full, 4 stories remain under water.   A perfect backdrop is provided by the surrounding Nahargarh hills.   Restoration and cleaning of the lake and palace began in 2004.   Now there are many venders here.

Venders and activity here

This is a popular with the residents of Jaipur.   These ladies have beautiful dresses.

Colorful dresses

Are the bright colors attractive?  We like them.   This must be a happy place.

Vender has balloons

Venders have balloons.   Balloons are for happy occasions.   This table of snacks was a puzzle to us.

Food for purchase

We recognize the tomatoes, but are not sure what the grain type food is.    Later in the evening Jesse took us to a nice restaurant where we ate outside.   Unfortunately we cannot find the paper with the restaurant name, and we forgot.  The food was very good.   Of course, Jesse was able to tell us what we were eating, and we liked it.   There were entertainers there also.


These two men, sitting on the grass, provided music.   It was suggested that we not take flash photos, especially while the lady was dancing.  The flash could be a distraction.   New request to us, but it was OK.   These photos are dark, because we did not use our flash.


The lady is dancing with two vases on her head.   Then she came to our table and asked Soapy’s mom to help her.

Entertainer and Soapy’s mom

Soapy’s mom helped with the third vase and then the entertainer and Soapy’s mom did a little dancing.   This evening was fun.   We were entertained and well fed.

Fatenpur Sikri, A Former Mughal Empire in India, with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Fatenpur Sikri is an elaborate complex that served as capital of the Mughal Empire for only 16 years.   Emperor Akbar visited this area to consult the Sufi saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of his heir.   When the prophecy came true, Emperor Akbar built his new capital here.   He included three palaces, one for each of his favorite wives.   One wife was a Muslim, one wife a Hindu, and one wife a Christian.   Let’s enter this complex.

Entrance to Fatehpur Sikri

After entering the gate, but before the main complex, ruins are visible.

Old ruins

Emperor Akbar reigned from this capital for only 16 years, from 1570 to 1586.   It is believed this city was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death, due to water shortages.   The first building is Diwan i Am, the hall of public audiences.

Panorama of first building

The lawn is beautiful.  We were told and also read in our guidebook, that justice here was served quickly.   If someone did something that resulted in the death penalty, it was quick.   Elephants would trample the guilty one to death.   Sometimes, the guilty person laid down and the elephant crushed his head.   Maybe we ducks are glad we do not have elephants in our home town.   Inside Diwan i Khas, we admired great detail on the central stone column.

Such detail

We have noticed and appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship through our visit to India.   Every detail is intricate.   Wandering around the grounds, we found, or more accurately, we were found by the photographers.

Soapy’s mom holding the building

Here Soapy Smith’s mom is holding another building.   We like the photographers.   They are trying to earn a living, and we get great photos and memories of our time in India.   There are a few of this size building.

Ducks enjoying the view of individual buildings

Maybe buildings for a favorite wife?   We don’t remember everything we were told, but we admire the architecture.

Details on this door

Here is another example of much attention to detail.   Isn’t this door fabulous?   Buildings were constructed with the hot summer in mind.

Hallways built for shade in summer heat

This hall provides a cool location and much needed shade.   We like this sculpture.


We are not sure what it symbolizes and we cannot find information in our guide books.   Here we are, sitting on the windowsill, enjoying the shade and marveling that all these huge buildings and complexes were built without any machinery.

Enjoying cool and shade in this hall

Today, every construction site has a large variety of heavy equipment and safety equipment for the projects.   We hope you enjoyed a quick overview of Fatenpur Sikri.  This site is only 40 km (about 25 miles) west of Agra.   We enjoyed seeing this former capital of the Mughal Empire.

Views of Agra, India, from the Bus Window

After one of our walks around Agra, India, we had a pleasant surprise when we returned to our room.   We opened our curtains and saw visitors on our window ledge.

Two friendly monkey on ledge outside our room

These two monkeys were grooming each other.   No surprise, the window has smudges on the outside.

He likes watching us?

One, the smaller monkey, left, while the larger stood up to look at us.

We ducks think he wants to come inside

Now sitting, is he asking to come in and visit with us?  Or does he know we have a Kit Kat candy bar in here?   Today our bus leaves Agra, heading for Jaipur, with a stop between.   As we go through Agra, we take some photos from the bus.   There is really no story here, just wanted you to see the variety of Agra.

Street scene of Agra

So many types of transportation.

Street of Agra

Scenes from the streets of everyday life in Agra.

Three on a motorcycle in Agra

Riding is faster and easier than walking, so three on a motorcycle is logical.

Tractor on street in Agra

Tractors are not just for the fields and farms.   When we entered Agra, from Delhi, we did see a few cows on the street, but not here.   Not today.   When mom was here in 2004, she said there were many more cows in the cities.

Building material

Much material for construction.

Horse cart

Horse can pull the cart.

Large trucks here also

Also large trucks available.   Leaving Agra, there are many open fields.

Fields outside Agra

Jesse, our guide, says wheat and mustard are main crops, but this is not the growing season. Local market for local people.

Local shopping here

Not a tourist market.

Local shopping. Not for tourists

We found these photos interesting and very different than street scenes in our city of Denver, Colorado.   We hope you saw something new here, also.

Shah Jahan Under House Arrest in Agra Fort, India

Agra Fort, across the Yamuna River originally was a military structure.   Construction began in 1565 by Emperor Akbar.   Emperor Akbar was the grandfather of Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal.   From early construction, additions occurred, and by the time of Shah Jahan, it was a palace.   This is Amar Singh Gate, to the south of Agra Fort, and now the only entrance.

Ready to enter Amar Singh Gate to Agra Fort

This was really a city behind walls.   We tried a panorama photo of the main building.

Panorama of main building and lawn

Ornate buildings and manicured lawns.   Like most temples and old buildings, there are many monkeys.

Monkey on roof

This one on the roof was joined by some monkey friends and we were fascinated watching them run and jump across the roofs.   Our moms were happy to see a chipmunk.


We have chipmunks in our Colorado mountains.   While we were watching the chipmunk, a man picked him up so we could get a photo.   Wasn’t that nice?  We walked around the complex and saw many buildings.

Wandering between buildings

Everything is so old, and much of it is still in good repair.   From Agra Fort, the view across the river shows Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

Such a beautiful building.   Shah Jahan, adored his daughters, and they each had a room like this.

Room for daughter

These are beautiful rooms with a great view of the Yamuna River.   And another non human resident.

A bat lives here at Agra Fort

This bat seems to be at home in Agra Fort.   This guide is shining a light on the marble.

White marble with inlaid gems

The light accentuates the gems inlaid in the marble.   Great craftsmanship everywhere.   You may remember that the Taj Mahal, was built as a tomb for Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653.   In 1659, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son, Aurangzeb.   Aurangzeb kept his father, the former Shah, under house arrest at Agra Fort.   This is the room, in Musamman Burj, the Octagonal Tower, in Agra Fort where Shah Jahan died.

Room where Shah Jahan died

He was imprisoned here for seven years, before his death.   From his tower, he could see the Taj Mahal, built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz.

View of Taj Mahal from his prison

So close, but out of reach for him.   This lawn was the Ladies’ Bazaar.

Ladies’ Bazaar

Female merchants were allowed to come here, on market day, to sell goods to the ladies of the Mughal court.   Men were not allowed.   We really like visiting Agra Fort, and loved the views of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

The Taj Mahal with a mosque on each side.   But, it was time for us to leave.   More people were passing through Amar Singh Gate, coming to visit Agra Fort.

Leaving Agra Fort. That cute little girl is watching us.

That cute little girl is watching us.   Sometimes little children try to take us home with them.   We like children, but we want to stay with our moms.  We like this little girl.   Isn’t her dress pretty?  If you go to Agra, India, please visit the Taj Mahal and also Agra Fort.   We think you will enjoy them both.

The Taj Mahal Without Zeb and Soapy

We are now in Agra, India.   Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal.   This is as far as our bus can go.

Buses cannot go closer to Taj Mahal

From here, it is either walk or ride in one of those carts.   But wait a minute.   Humans cannot take much near the Taj Mahal.   Ducks are not allowed in the Taj Mahal area.   Oh no!!   But it is OK.  Our moms said we will be able to see the Taj Mahal from other areas, including the restaurant of our hotel, Clarks Shiraz Hotel.  Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck stayed on the bus.   The humans rode in a cart.   Here is the ticket purchasing area.

Purchase tickets here

Jesse, our guide, purchased the tickets.

Prices for Taj Mahal. Foreigners and Indians pay different prices

Tickets are different prices for foreigners than they are for Indians.   That is fine.   The people that live here should be able to enjoy this beautiful building.

Enter through this building

Humans walked through this building, and this is what they saw.

Wow! Here is the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is symmetrical.   A mosque was constructed on one side of the Taj Mahal, so another mosque was built on the other side.   Must be symmetrical.  Jesse, our guide, had humans sit on a platform and explained a little about the Taj Mahal.   This building was commissioned by Shah Jahan to enshrine the mortal remains of his Queen Mumtaz Mahal.   This was built from love.   Isn’t that romantic.   We love that love was so strong.   She died during childbirth.   They were married 17 years.   There were other wives, but Mumtaz was the favorite.   We like this photo.

Taj Mahal through arch

This was taken from the platform the humans sat on while Jesse explained things.   Walking closer, we can see the craftsmanship of inlaid jasper in the white marble.

Marble inlaid with Jasper

This marble is from India.   In 1631 Mumtaz died and the construction of the Taj Mahal began.   The beautiful building built of love, was completed in 1653.   There is a bench in front of the Taj Mahal called the Princess Di (Diana) bench.

Soapy’s mom at Princess Diana Bench

Soapy’s mom is by the bench.   Our photographer told her how to pose.   She was not swimming in the reflecting pools.   Inside, visitors are only allowed in the center area of the main floor.   The tombs here are empty.   The real tombs are in the lower level.   Pictures of the tombs are not allowed and this structure surrounds the tombs.

Inside Taj Mahal. Empty Tombs behind this structure

Looking through, we could see two tombs.   Shah Jahan built this for his Queen Mumtaz.   Her tomb is in the center.   He wanted another smaller building across the river for his memorial.   His was to be of black marble and a bridge was to be built connecting the two memorials.   However, that did not happen.   He was disposed by his son in 1659 and upon his death, his body was placed next to Mumtaz.   While viewing the Taj Mahal, there are many photographers eager to take your photos.   Our moms hired a photographer and had fun with him.

Soapy’s mom with our photographer

Here he is with Soapy’s mom.  We won’t tell you how many photos were purchased, but our moms had a great time.   This a beautiful building and a wonderful memorial to love.   We hope you visit Agra, India to see the Taj Mahal.

Mahatma Gandhi with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck in Delhi, India

Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India, he became the most famous Indian activist and leader of the Indian Independence movement against the British.   There are three museums in Delhi honoring Gandhi.   We visited Ghandi Smriti Museum.

Gandhi Smriti Museum, Delhi

Gandhi left India to study law in London.   After completing his studies, he went to South Africa in April 1893.   Ghandi remained there for 21 years fighting for civil rights for the Indian community in South Africa.   In 1914 in South Africa he was referred to as “Mahatma”, a title of honor meaning High Souled.   The world knows him as Mahatma Gandhi.   During the independence negotiations with England, part of India became Pakistan, the home for the Muslims of India.   The remainder of India was for the Hindus.   This caused many problems with people being asked to leave their homes and move to another area.   Gandhi was concerned about this.   This museum, formerly Birla House, was where Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life.   Here is the path Gandhi walked for the last time.

Path with raised footprints

This was his nightly public walk.   He was in prayer here, when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, shot three bullets into his chest.

Footprints leading to site of assassination

Gandhi died instantly.  His assassin did not approve of Gandhi’s ways with the Muslims and Hindus during this time in India.   Mahatma Gandhi died January 30, 1948.   Walkways on the grounds contain many signs with Gandhi’s quotes.

Quotes by Gandhi

After strolling through the grounds, we entered the main building, now a museum.

Entrance to home, now museum

Many quotes, artifacts and dioramas highlighted the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

Matama Gandhi during younger years

We enjoyed this photo of Gandhi in his younger days.  Gandhi believed in equality and freedom for all.   We even saw his thoughts regarding women’s rights.   He believed men and women were to complement each other and be respected equally by each other.   Zeb and Soapy liked this statue.

Gandhi with children and Colorado Traveling Ducks

Gandhi, with children and the Colorado Traveling Ducks.   Nearby is Raj Ghat, the black marble memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

Black Marble Memorial where Gandhi was cremated

This marks the location, on the Yamuna River, where Gandhi was cremated.

Memorial with Zeb and Soapy

It is a calm, peaceful parklike location.   The walkways here are also lined with quotes of Mahatma Gandhi.

Many quotes of Gandhi

We particularly liked this wall.

Public drinking water wall at Raj Ghat, Delhi

Drinking water is provided here for visitors to Raj Ghat.   We hope you will visit some memorials to Gandhi when you are in Delhi.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi

It is informative and offers tranquility in a city of 17-18 million people.

Delhi’s India Gate and a Little More

Here we are at India Gate.

India Gate

This is a 42 meter high stone arch of triumph and is officially known as All Inda War Memorial.   This gate bears the names of 90,000 Indian Army soldiers that perished in World War I, the North-West Frontier war of the same time, and the 1919 Afghan war.   At several tourist places, we met people of all ages, working as professional photographers.   Here a photographer is directing Soapy Smith Duck’s mom how to pose for his photo.

India Gate. Photographer directing Soapy Smith Duck’s mom on posing.

We were only here for a short time, but this photographer arranged the poses, took the photos, and printed them before our tour bus left.   Very impressive.   This is his photo.

Soapy’s mom

This is the photographer’s photo from a lower angel.   Is Soapy’s mom really as tall as India Gate?    Can she reach the top??   We did purchase these photos from the photographer.

Soapy’s mom. Tall as India Gate??

There is a fountain to the side of India Gate.

Fountain and pool by India GateI

We love water, but you know that, we are ducks.   The reflecting pool at the side of the gate is nice.

Side view of India Gate with reflecting pool

As always we like water around monuments.  Of course, any photo is enhanced by including the Colorado Traveling Ducks.  Many residents of Delhi come here in the evenings.   Venders are here and the atmosphere is rather festive.   Leaving India gate, we rode past the Presidential Palace.

Presidential Palace

This is the official residence of India’s president.   The mansion has 4 floors and 340 rooms, in 200,000 square feet (19,000 square meters).   One billion bricks were used in the construction.  The Presidential Palace is also known as Rashtrapati Bhavan.     Nearby, is the Parliament  building.

Parliament Building

This building has three main chambers, the Lower House of Parliament, the Upper House of Parliament, and the Library.   Now, Zeb and Soapy would like to show you a couple more street scenes in Delhi.

Delhi streets. Moving 17-18 million people daily

And another street scene.

Delhi street

When Zeb’s mom was here in 2004, this was a photo of Delhi’s streets.

Delhi streets 2004

This time, we did not see cows in the streets of Delhi, but we did see cows near the edges of Delhi.   Maybe the cows felt uncomfortable with so many people here now.   Next time we will show you a national hero of India.   We hope you will join us.

Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Humayun’s tomb was built in the mid 16th century.

Humayun’s Tomb

It was commissioned by Haji Begum, the senior wife of the second Mughal emperor.   During this time in history, the Muslim emperors were very strong and had much power.   This tomb was the first important example of Mughal architecture in India.

Beautiful building

Many believe this building inspired the design for the Taj Mahal in Agra.   Walking through the garden and past the fountain, we head to the platform and building that contains Humayun’s tomb.

Up all those stairs? Carry us?

Let’s climb the stairs.   Inside we see the tomb.

Public tomb

However, we are told that the real tomb is in the basement level.   We  believe that people are not to totally walk around the real tomb.   The building is tall and beautiful.   All this beautiful marble is from India.

Morning sun comes through these windows and lights tomb

The morning sun comes through these windows and lights the tomb.   Leaving the building, but staying on the balcony, we look across the fountain and toward the entrance to this World Heritage Site.

From tomb platform toward entrance

The grounds are beautiful.   We see this dome.

Dome of mosque from tomb platform

We think the domes of mosques are really pretty.  Oh ducks.

Going back down the stairs. Ducks have short legs.

Time to walk down these steps again.   You can do it.   On the way back to our bus, we see these two dogs.

Dogs sharing a shoe

They seem to be sharing a shoe to chew.   This is a very beautiful and peaceful place.   When in Delhi, we hope you visit Humayun’s Tomb.