During Ashok's sabbatical, the family takes two unexpected trips outside of Calcutta. After spending several months with family, Ashoke "has planned a trip for them, first to Delhi to visit an uncle, and then to Agra to see the Taj Mahal" (84).
This trip is significant not only because it is their first time leaving their parent's hometown, but it is the moment in the novel where Gogol first begins to savor the beauty of architecture as he stands in front of the Taj Mahal, unable to draw or capture it's grandeur.
This scene is also critical as it is the first time that the family feels like tourists in their own country. They notice that "in certain restaurants that they are the only Indians apart from the serving staff" (85). This is a transformative experience, especially for Gogol.