Monday, July 22, 2013

The First Experience of the Taj Mahal

The plan when getting to Agra is of course to see one of the greatest sights of the world, the Taj Mahal. The anticipation built as we got closer to our first scheduled visit, and with the quick first glimpse of the iconic white marble dome from the rooftop of our hotel.

But we waited until the second full day, allowing this part of our 5 week India trip to be laidback and a time for rest and recuperation. This also meant that the anticipation of visiting the world's most famous monument to love grew even bigger, and more exciting.

The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a monument and tomb for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. This pure white marble monument holds her body, and his, and stands as a mark of his love and grief, and built so that all would remember her.

We entered the site as a group near lunchtime, from the west gate, taking in the grand pink gate, walking through, and then having our respective breaths taken away by that unforgettable sight.

So, so beautiful. Set in ornamental gardens, with symmetrical features and water fountains.

Standing at the entrance and taking it in was a must, and almost involuntary. Soaking it in, in bold sunshine, was magical.

As a group we spent a couple of hours walking the visitors circuit of the visit, which follows on from that first full visual, to walking the length of the water fountains to the foot of the temple. Placing shoe covers on, you then walk the steps to reach the platform where you can enter the tomb. Ushered through the interior with enough time to take in the exquisite detail, you file back out into the sunshine and walk the semi-circle behind the temple, looking at the operational mosque and the matching replica on the other side, all while still taking in gazes of this spectacular piece of architecture.

A visit where it's impossible not to be in complete awe, during and after, the Taj is one of those places you have always want to go to, and you really should figure out how to get there! It does not disappoint!

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