Thursday, March 20, 2008

Incredible India--The Taj Mahal!

When I last blogged, we were in India, and since I haven't finished sharing our experiences there, I thought I would continue with the tour! Of course, there is one sight that is not to be missed. I am speaking of the Taj Mahal. This edifice is one of the most amazing structures in all of the world. It truly takes your breath away, it is so beautiful! And to think that I have visited it twice! What a gift! The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, and it takes about 5 hours by car to get there from New Delhi. However, seeing the sights in the countryside of India is well worth the long drive!

I thought you might like a little historical background. The Taj was begun in 1632 and it took 22 years to build. It is both a tomb and monument to enduring love. The Emperor Shah Jahan lost his beloved wife of 19 years, after giving birth to their 14th child--she was only 39 years old. Shah Jahan was so distraught with her death, that he resolved to immortalize his love for her by building a monument so incredible that she would never be forgotten. It worked! A more romantic monument would be hard to find. The workmanship is amazing and the use of precious and semi precious stones to accent the walls inside the edifice is a sight to behold. Coupled with the surrounding magnificent grounds, the Taj Mahal truly is the jewel of India.

To go onto the Taj complex, you must put white booties over your shoes. It is very dark inside the edifice and quite stuffy...making it difficult to see the precious inlaid designs on the walls and to breath comfortably! The Emperor and his wife are buried there...underneath the main floor in simple stone coffins. As a interesting side note, many years later, when Shah Jahan was 65 years old, one of his sons deposed him as Emperor and imprisoned him a few miles just down the river from the Taj Mahal. He remained there a prisoner until his death. He was put in room where he could look through the grill work of the prison window and gaze at the Taj Mahal...which brought him great comfort! If you look very carefully, you can see a palace fortress in the background of this picture. This is where he was imprisoned.

The first time that we went, it was in April, and it hot...around 112 degrees F. The white stone of the Taj was blindingly, brilliantly, white! Gazing upon it hurt the eyes! And HOT....oh, it was hot. Walking around the edifice was almost too much to much to bear, especially since our guide was intent on making sure that we learned everything he knew about the monument! When we went inside, it was like taking a steam bath with 150 plus tourists. I have to say, it was a relief to get outside and enjoy some shade under the trees!
Of course, you can't go to the Taj without holding it up...I have to say it, this was not as difficult to do as I thought it would be! Don't you wish you could do this?

Dad and I loved this experience. It is right up there with climbing the Great Wall of China!


  1. add india to my list of palaces to go before i die! but in the mean time, it's fun to read about your adventures.

  2. What took this blog so long to get launched. I love reading about your life. Thanks for sharing mom.

  3. What a fun post. My parents — the gypsies! Who would have thought. :)