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January 20th 2008 by Aaron & Tina
The Taj

Posted under India


Spectacular! The Taj Mahal is even more beautiful in person than I imagined in my mind’s eye given the dozens of photographs that I’ve seen in my lifetime. We entered at the East Gate and approached from the front, through the lush landscaped mall. Beaming in all of its majestic greatness, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631, the white marble monument is breathtaking. The Taj was finished in 1653 after more than twenty years and the labor of 20,000 people from India, Central Asia and Europe. The exquisitely carved marble screens inside with thousands of inlaid semiprecious stones, and pietra dura (marble inlay work) combine to create a stunning masterpiece. We spent several hours exploring the spacious grounds, walking around the ornamental gardens with perfectly symmetrical pools and fountains, viewing the false cenotaphs of the Shah and his wife below the main dome (the remains are kept in a private room which cannot be viewed), and trying to avoid the enormous groups of Indian and Asian tourists moving about en masse. The Taj is meticulously cared for. It sits on a high marble platform on the bank of a low river. The aesthetic beauty and architectural genius of the Taj easily qualify it as a world wonder but, in our minds, the love story behind its creation is its most awe-inspiring feature. Knowing the story, you cannot gaze upon this significant artistic and architectural feat without actually feeling the emperor’s pain over the loss of his greatest love.


3 Responses to “The Taj”

  1. Jasmine on 21 Jan 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    go go go… I can’t believe how much territory you’ve covered and I’m still digesting Christmas dinner!

    I am on my way home from South America. This year was a little special because I relocated my mom from Portland to Uruguay (at the tender age of 78!) and spent the last 3 weeks wrestling with beurocrats and getting her settled into a fabulous little house just one block from the beach. I showed her your blog and she immediately insisted you stay with her while you visit Uruguay. She has a beautiful guest room and she’s a wonderful little british grandmother — so please! Feel welcome, because you are!

    If you’re there near the holidays next year, we’ll be there to show you around. If another month, I have about a dozen cousins eager to practice their English. So come!

    by the way – love the new map feature in your itinerary!

  2. Andrew Leonard on 21 Jan 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    I’m writing to let you know with a very jealous heart, you both suck! 🙂 (you know I love you both!) That is incredible! I’m still waiting for you to send me that airline ticket…..or the Spanish Senorita 🙂 We still need to coordinate schedules…..I still have no plans so far this year. Maybe Pamplona….but not sure. TTYL!

  3. Mike Farmer on 23 Jan 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    Your photos from the 142 days of the trip show a gradual progression from wide eyed naive tourist to experienced, crusty, traveler. By the time you get back, some of my friends in “the company” will be interested in hiring you.