Jay Kannaiyan and sanDRina - Jammin thru India

Day 21 - Khajuraho to Agra

From Khajuraho, Jay rides over 400 km to Agra, where by happy coincidence he witnesses the making of fine marble inlay handicraft

Riding across a bridge in northern Madhya Pradesh under the searing heat.

I got an early start from Khajuraho and it was interesting to be riding through towns such as Chhatarpur before the shops opened and the streets got filled with town life. It was relatively cool until about 9 am and then the searing heat was full on. As I made my way to the four-lane highway that starts from Gwalior, I was engulfed in dust and bumps through miles of construction and diversions. At least traffic was light on these small highways but it looks like because they are back-roads, the road-works are moving along slowly. 
A train crossing that turned into chaos when the gates opened with traffic coming from all sides.

From Gwalior, it was an easy ride into Agra and I arrived by early afternoon and was met by two riders from the Royal Riders Bullet Club of Agra, Himanshu and Rajesh. They treated me to lunch at a Dominos; a sign that I was back in a big city. sanDRina's carburetor was acting up again, so Himanshu took me to a known mechanic and Avtar Singh found the issue: one small tab was not bent and that was allowing extra fuel to flow into the carburetor. This wasn't seen in Bombay, but good to have it fixed now. 
Himanshu Bansal, a Bullet rider who also manages Subash Emporium, a family business in marble inlaying in Agra …

What I love about traveling is the serendipitous encounters along the way. I met Himanshu through a Bullet Club connection and it turns out that he manages the finest marble inlay handicraft shop in Agra. The Taj Mahal is famous for its extensive use of white marble and all the intricate patterns that have been inlaid with semi-precious stones. The idea for this technique came from Italy during Shah Jahan's time in the 17th century but it was in Agra that the workmanship has been perfected. Himanshu's business, Subash Emporium, which is about fifty years in the running now, is said to have revived this artwork of marble inlaying by nurturing the skills of the artisans in Agra. 
Stone polishers at Subash Emporium in Agra grinding stones that will be inlaid into marble.

What a good chance that I was shown how the marble inlaying is done the day before I would see the Taj Mahal. Now, I was all set for a deeper appreciation of this grand monument.

Enjoy the video of Himanshu walking us through the technique of marble inlaying.

 

 

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TRAVEL NOTES

Agra probably needs no introduction, though better known than this cantonment city itself is the Taj Mahal, that fabled mausoleum of white marble erected by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Read more: Wah Taj - an everlasting romance

The Man. The Machine. The Story

There are love stories and love stories, but none tugs more at the heart than a tale of infinite departure. In March 2010, Jay Kannaiyan and sanDRina, his beloved Suzuki DR650, left on a great journey back home to India. Jay quit his secure corporate job, sold his Chicago townhouse and every household possession, and left with sanDRina on a journey that saw them through 94,933 km, 32 countries, and 1,150 days on the road through the Global South -- from the USA through Latin America and Africa, heading towards India. At the core of this seemingly mindless pursuit was Jay’s desire to raise awareness about sustainability and a unique sentiment best described by an archaic Greek term, eudaimonia – the search for things that are true, good and beautiful. 

Homecoming isn’t complete unless you experience the country you call home in all her varied terrain and temperaments. And so Jay and sanDRina will embark on a journey of discovery through India. 

Yahoo India Travel follows Jay and sanDRina on their exhilarating discovery of India with daily updates from the road in words, pictures and video. If you have questions to ask, or words of encouragement for Jay and sanDRina, follow Jammin India on Twitter (hashtag #jamminindia). Also visit JamminGlobal.com for comprehensive accounts of his journey so far as well as snippets and trivia.