The Lure of India and the magical presence of the
We are all so familiar with the iconic Taj Mahal, but did you know that it means, Crown of the Palace. It is an ivory-white marble mausoleum and has to be witnessed in person to be fully appreciated.
It is situated on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It is a World Heritage Site and has been declared a winner of the new Seven Wonders of the World (2000 – 2007 initiative)
It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his (favourite wife !) Mumtaz Mahal a Persian princess. Her name means “Jewel of the Palace” or “Chosen One of the Palace”. She died having given birth to their 14th child. The princess expressed her wish to be remembered in a formal manner.
The Taj Mahal took approximately 20 years to build and 20,000 workers to complete. This surely was a true declaration of his undying love for this lady.
The tomb lies in the centre of the complex, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
We arrived at 5.00 am to catch the sunrise.
As you approach the Taj Mahal – its breath-taking beauty steals your heart. We were in awe and a quiet, respectful hush prevailed.
Once you reach the white marble steps, you can no longer take photographs (sorry about that). Also, you must wear special socks to enter the mausoleum as if you were entering a pharmaceutical plant or operating theatre! This is where you will witness the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.
The emperor’s tomb was later added to the mausoleum so that he could be beside his loved one.
Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as
“the tear-drop on the cheek of time”
The Taj Mahal attracts about 8 million visitors a year.
As the morning light began to change, all of a sudden we could see the reflection of the Taj Mahal in full splendour.
It was a special time!
The quiet hush subsided as people became giddy with excitement and cameras clicked and the reality of selfies were in full flow.
Princess Diana once visited the Taj Mahal and people flocked to get photos taken in the same spot where she had sat.
Visiting the Taj Mahal has to be one of the main highlights of my visit to India.
Already, my thoughts linger on the Taj Mahal and it will to be the first painting I will do from India.
In my next post, I will tell you about a very interesting visit to a Sikh Temple – this was no ordinary temple and no doubt, you will enjoy this story!
Thank you for liking and sharing