I was young when they announced Taj Mahal situated in Agra, India as one of the Seven Wonders of the New World. I remember thinking then that, this monument, made entirely of white marble, and semi precious stone and spent over 32 million at that time, must be a magnificent sight. I mean, why else would a TOMB and a building around it be named as one of the Wonders of the world, right?
This year, during March, I had the opportunity to visit, New Delhi. And I didn’t waste that, and immediately booked a tour ticket to Taj Mahal. My excitement was beyond words. I was so close,to witnessing a beauty of a building!
Finally, the day arrived. The people who organised the tour were smart. They took us to Agra Fort where we got the first view of the white marbled domes and the River Yamuna. The King Shah Jahan under who’s reign, the Taj Mahal was built wanted to see the beautiful building he built for her- Mumtaz Mahal, who was supposed to be his favorite wife, all the way from his palace, the Agra Fort.
All this history lessons lead up to the grand finale, the big one- Taj Mahal, aka, Crown Palace.
We entered through the west gate. We had to travel almost half a kilometer from where the bus was to the ticket counter. A Rs 40 ticket was all that stood between me and one of my childhood dreams. We started walking from the ticket counter to the gate.
And there it was. Through the doorway for the west gate, we could see the main dome of Taj Mahal. I had shivers all over my body. It was not how they described at all. It was much more that anyone could ever put into words. We walked forward, closer. Even though the white marble, was significantly yellow-ish, it still stood majestically. For a moment I didn’t know what to do, or say. All I could do was look at this marvel barely 500m away from me. It was crowded, filled with tourists and photographers asking us if we needed pictures, but my eyes didn’t move. They were set on, the beauty, Taj Mahal.
As we got closer, the beauty just increased. After the traditional picture-taking session, we entered the building. There they were- King Shah Jahan and his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.* The cold air inside was soothing after walking under the scorching heat. We came outside again to a beautiful view of the river Yamuna. Even though, there was barely any water in it now, it must’ve looked beautiful long ago, when the Taj was built. We sat on the cold marble for a while and I couldn’t help but be spellbound by the sheer brilliance of artistic talent, just to make one building for the tomb of one person.
While leaving, I turned around and looked at it again. They say Taj Mahal is the monument of love. It must be true. I was in love-
In love with the craftsmanship it took to build this;
In love with the folklore behind it,
In love with the emotions surround the building.
And that’s one down. Six more to go.
*Their actual bodies were buried below these ornamental tombs as Muslim traditions forbids elaborate decorations on the grave.