Agra – The Majestic Taj Mahal

So, for me today was an exciting day. I would finally get to fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting the Taj Mahal. Ever since I was a child, it’s just been one of those things, too beautiful to be true; that you just had to see.

Lily’s things were all over the place but she helped me pack them up quick. No time for a swim as we had an early checkout. Wanted to a full day tour so we left our hotel in Delhi at 6 am.

After we got to the ‘Yamuna Expressway’, it became a serene drive. We had our own private cab. Not the most cost effective option but if you’re not a shoestring budget then India is not really such an expensive destination. Would have totally tried out the train if Lily wasn’t there. Yes it’s an adventure but with the train delays sometimes, it can be an inconvenient one at times, with children.

Plus, this six lane expressway was probably the best one in the country, according to Arun, and it took us only 2 hours or something to get there, missed all the traffic of course. Stopped briefly at a clean canteen place on the way, near the tollbooth, for a small breakfast.

Checked in at the ITC Mughal Hotel, which was huge and surprisingly, in close proximity to The Taj Mahal. We only had to freshen up and leave.

‘Would it live up to expectations?  Or had all the years of hype cast an unreal mystique on something that isn’t quite as splendid as made out.’ was a recurring question that I kept thinking to myself. There are many touts and guides just waiting to hound you but we our travel agency had pre booked one for us so, there was no hassle there. His name was ‘Raju.’ He was polite, friendly and didn’t talk too fast. Lily kept him busy with questions about the kind of flowers there.

Entry to the grounds is easy, and within a few minutes you’re walking through the red sandstone outer walls of the compound, with the Taj still out of site. The Great Gate (Darwaza-i rauza) that leads to the gardens surrounding the Taj Mahal is impressive in itself, made of red sandstone with intricate marble work, imposing archways, and domed Chhatris on the top corners. Not a bad entry-way! For a second there I forgot what we had gone there to see.

Then we passed through the Great Gate archway which opens up into the gardens surrounding that mausoleum that we did come here to see. The view of the Taj Mahal from the main entrance is that snapshot that you’ve seen a thousand times, which does more to demonstrate the limits of photography than the beauty of this place. In that moment, from that perspective, the architectural ingenuity, creativity, and inspiration transcend the building’s own context.

When Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in the mid-17th century as a mausoleum for his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal , he really did doom all husbands of the future to fall short of memorializing their lost love in an impressive fashion. In fact, as the love story goes, he was so grief stricken by the death of his third wife that he wanted to build the most impressive mausoleum ever created.

The gardens were teeming with tourists, but it somehow didn’t feel so overcrowded.

Lily and me had enough room to click the beauty from all angles. The ten-minute stroll from the gate to the Taj, through Persian-inspired gardens, lined with trees, fountains, and a reflecting pool running down the center, seemed pleasantly designed to give the viewer more time to take in the gorgeous building from a slowly changing perspective. When I got up close and personal with the edifice my appreciation only deepened; from a closer vantage point, the fact that the entire building is made out of white marble becomes increasingly apparent, and the way it’s intricately put to use is just stunning. Standing below that enormous dome with its four minaret towers is simply a dwarfing experience.

The interior is a little anti-climactic. It’s essentially one big empty room, serving as a mausoleum (with some surrounding peripheral chambers). However, as a resting place for a beloved wife, there is something to be said for the tranquil simplicity of the central chamber with the impressively hollow domed ceiling. But the crowds of tourists, who were so agreeably spaced-out in the gardens, were now bottle-necked into a shuffle through the central mausoleum, making the last bit of the Taj experience slightly less awe-inspring as that initial moment. But that first glimpse was all it took to understand why this place is so unbelievable.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Personally Make the Payment(Online via Credit Card, Cash, Cheque / Draft )

Read More

INDIA TRAVEL TIPS

To make sure that you have a safe and comfortable trip to any destination.

Read More

VISA RULES

Visa on arrival facility is available for a period of one month only for citizens of the following five.

Read More