Up at 5:30 for a 6:15 pickup as the Taj in the sunrise has a special quality….and indeed it did. At this time of year there is a lot of smog so the view was hazy…but still truly magical. It had been described to me as translucent and that is an apt description, particularly as the sun gains strength and lands on the Taj and its Turrets
The first view of the Taj is truly breathtaking..the colour, the vista, the symmetry which you begin to notice almost immediately…even though the grounds were already filled with hundreds and hundreds of people, it had an unbelievably calm and serene feel to it. It appears quite grand!!! In part due to the 4 symmetrical towers around the exterior, the two symmetrical buildings on the side ( one is a mosque) and the long pools in front which create the vista and often present a mirror image of the Taj Mahal at several spots along the way.
The Taj is not a palace. It is a white marble building that houses two tombs. It was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, MumtazMahal who died at 38 after bearing him 14 children!!!! It was meant to only house his wife’s tomb as he had begun to erect a black marble mirror image of the Taj across the river where he wished to be buried . However his third son, killed off his first born and put Shah Jahan in prison. When he finally died after 10 plus years his tomb was set to the left of his wife’s. As a result it is the only thing at the Taj that is not symmetrical, so it certainly feels as if it should not be there. The white marble is intricately set with semi precious stones and as the rising sun hits it, it sparkles. It truly is magical…
The day I visited was the Muslim holiday Aeid… consequently I witnessed thousands of Muslim men all dressed in white coming to the mosque mentioned earlier.
In the pictures you will see the men cleansing themselves in the pools in the mosque’s front courtyard. …once their hands, faces and feet are washed they enter the mosque… as I was leaving the huge mosque was full and they were starting to sit on long prayer rugs in front of the mosque.. I expect the courtyard would be completely full by the time morning prayers started at 9am. All in white they too were quite a spectacle.
Having spent several hours in the Taj, around the gardens I can say I completely agree that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I am very glad I did not miss this opportunity to visit it on my trip to India.
I remembered one of the modern worlds most renowned Taj pictures. Diane sitting in front of the Taj. I remember it was when she and Charles were estranged. it now is clear to me how very sad her visit must have been . to see a memorial to a revered love when she was feeling so unloved..SAD SAD