seven magic mountains.

Saturday was the opening weekend for the Seven Magic Mountains. They're created by the Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone. It's a two year art installation in the middle of the Vegas desert. According to Rondinone, the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

I was extremely excited to see these in person, and was even more impressed when we actually got there. The boulders are over 35 feet high! The Seven Magic Mountains are just 15 minutes away from our home on Las Vegas Boulevard heading towards Los Angeles. If you're driving to Vegas from California, this is a must see!

india day eight - agra.

India Day Eight - Agra: We drove to the Taj Mahal early this morning in hopes of being one of the first people there. We definitely didn't beat the crowd, but the Taj Mahal was still a m a z i n g:
^^The Taj Mahal was built in 1632 as a memorial tomb for Shah Jahan's favorite wife, Mumtaz Maha. Shah Jahan loved white marble so the entire mausoleum is made of white marble with thousands of precious gemstone inlays. It took over 20 years to build!^^
^^My girls.^^
^^We also went to the Red Fort in Agra. This was built much earlier than the Taj Mahal. We've seen chipmunks all over Agra and our guide mentioned they were really friendly. Someone gave me crumbs and this chipmunk immediately climbed on me. 

India, you've been so good to us! We'll be back ;)

india day seven - ranthambore.

India Day Seven - Ranthambore + Agra: We arrived late afternoon in Ranthambore and stayed in a really pretty local palace:
^^At 5:30AM we were picked up from our hotel in a jeep and we drove right into the wildlife reserve. Our guide mentioned the chances of seeing a wild tiger were extremely slim, so none of had our hopes up too high. We saw dozens of peacocks, deer, and birds.^^
^^The guide was able to track fresh tiger prints (I'm not sure how?!) and we came across tiger #34 laying on the ground. He actually stood up, walked right past our jeep, and drank water from a hole about 15 feet from us.^^
^^It was so surreal being that close to a WILD tiger. I thought for sure we were going to be lunch meat after he finished drinking, but he went along his way. He was totally showing off by scratching the trees and stretching close to our car. We lucked out!^^
^^This temple was just outside of the park. Oddly enough, it's called the Black and White temple. The walls are painted bright colors and there was a COW inside of the temple.^^
^^View from the top of the Black and White temple.^^
^^After Ranthambore we drove to Agra (about 5 hours away). Our first stop was the Little Taj, also known as Jewel Box. This was the inspiration source for the Taj Mahal, and you can see resemblances.^^
^^Inside of the Jewel Box. The marble tile everywhere!! Bare feet are required for religious purposes since it's inside of a mosque.^^
^^Entrance gate (made of Red Sandstone) to the Jewel Box.^^
^^After we drove to the back of the Taj Mahal. We've been waiting to see this for so long! Since it was closed on Friday we weren't able to see the front of the Taj, but it was nice seeing the back view with no one walking the premises of the temple.^^

Pinch me, this placed is a dream! Tomorrow we're touring the front of the monument.

india day six - monkey temple

India Day Six - Monkey Temple: On the way to Ranthambore we stopped by the Galtaji temple. Just outside of Jaipur is the the Galtaji Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple. You'll see why...
^^It's situation in a valley so the temple climbs up the mountain. Even though it's only 10km outside of Jaipur, it feels like a completely different 'country' since it's so secluded.^^
^^Before entering the temple we purchasing a few bags of peanuts. Although the monkeys are fed all day long, they couldn't pass up the offer.^^
^^Sacred bathing waters.^^
^^Locals come to the baths here to clean themselves free of sin. They also believe that the water has healing powers. The clothing the women wear are so bright and beautiful.^^
^^At one point this monkey hopped on Tiffany and I. We were both freaked at first, but the monkey was having an awesome time.^^

Next stop: Ranthambore. Tomorrow we're driving a jeep through an Indian wildlife safari. The chances are rare, but hopefully we can spot a wild tiger!

india day five - jaipur.

India Day Five - Jaipur: Our last day in Jaipur!
^^Getting henna was on our to-do list, so when we found a mother and daughter painting on the side of the road we said YES. We opted for henna on our feet / hands.^^
^^We went to a flower market in the morning too. Most of the flowers are purchased as offerings at temples, but they're gorgeous to look at.^^
^^Jantar Mantar. This is the best astronomy monument in India.^^
^^Inside of the Palace of the Winds (the PINK palace I posted on Instagram).
^^The Palace of the Winds (also known as Hawa Mahal) was built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. You can see all of the tiny windows on the facade of the building where the women would look out of.^^
^^Can't get enough of gold spires and pink sandstone walls.^^

Jaipur, we'll miss you! This city has been amazing; our favorites were Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, and all of the street markets. Tomorrow morning we're driving to Ranthambore (a National Park / Reservation). On the way we're going to a Money Temple (!!) and a few other tourist destinations. 

india day four - jaipur.

India Day Four - Jaipur: Covered so much ground today! Most of the day was spent in Amber, the city just outside of Jaipur (where we're staying). Our first stop was Amber Fort. One the way we drove past the Palace of Winds, a famous pink palace right in the middle of the city:
^^Palace of the Winds. We've seen this all over Pinterest so it was exciting seeing this in real life. I wouldn't have said this was as pink as every edited photo I've seen online, but still awesome.^^
^^We rode elephants to the top of Amber Fort since it sits on the top of a huge hill. The government has put a lot of effort into changing how the elephants are 'worked' in recent years, so they're now working less and taken care of more. This happened to be the same elephant that we bathed and fed later in the evening.^^
^^The king's courtyard inside of Amber Fort.^^
^^Mirror Palace inside of Amber Fort. UHM. I died a bit when I saw this building. The mirror inlays are so detailed. I want.^^
^^Snake Charmer (you can see Amber Fort in the top of the right picture. The cobra's fangs have been removed, so we were able to 'pet' the snake as the charmer was playing his flute.^^
^^Chand Baori step water well. This is sort of a hidden gem in Jaipur. We were the only ones there and this well feels somewhat like a labyrinth.^^
^^We went to an elephant sanctuary where we fed, painted, walked, and washed elephants. Above is Savannah Comari. She was SO sweet. I thought my life was complete, and then this happened.^^
Tomorrow is our last day in Jaipur before heading to Ranthambore (a National Park / animal reserve). Soaking in these last few moments in the Pinky City! 
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