Two riders astride a motorcycle followed us on the side of our car. It seemed as if they had hardly to waste any time before they decided that this is a group of tourists from outside their town and can probably be duped into taking up some not-so-great-but-still-not-cheap hotel for their one night’s stay before they go visiting the grand edifice that everybody flocks to Agra for. They were right on their first assumption(or conclusion) but wrong on the latter.
Next morning saw us taking up a Tanga( horse driven carriage) ride to Taj Mahal complex. I dont’ remember the last time I had had a horse ride and it was fun to tap along in parallel in your own mind , the hoof steps on the road. It was too crowded to be having a good time once we reached there. Add to that the North Indian Monsoon humidity. But then it happened to us almost all of a sudden. The white beauty rose up in front of our eyes and got us all enamored in an instant.
Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, stood there dwarfing all those who were walking towards it or were checking out its interiors. The facade was shining in the day’s glory and the dome and the minarets stood erect giving testimony to a really great architectural marvel of contemporary India.
Taj Mahal is Huge. it really is. Try comparing the size of the human beings with that of the structure and you will realize how big it is. One can avail oneself of a local guide or a traveler with more independent inclinations might want to choose the Audio guide – a small audio device which gives you loads of info on different landmark sites in Taj Mahal according to the number you press on the device. These numbers correspond to the numbers inscribed on tiles placed at each of the locations in Taj Mahal.
The main attraction of this World Heritage Site is the mausoleum of Shahjahan’s wife. I couldn’t enter the place though, as it became unbearable for me to stand the milling crowd. The fountain and the green garden lead one from the entrance gate to the mausoleum. The fine exterior decoration of this structure consists of calligraphy or vegetative motifs as Islamic tradition prohibits use of anthropomorphic figures in their art.
Two beautiful red sandstone buildings keep guard on both the sides of the main structure of Taj Mahal. One of them is a mosque while the other is a jawab, primarily built for the purpose of architectural balance.
Interior the mosque was quiet and serene, with an aesthetic sense that is the hallmark of the entire Taj ediifce.
Outside the Taj Mahal complex, flows river Yamuna, across which is built the mighty Agra fort. Shahjahan spent his years arrested in Agra fort. But at least, he could see his beloved structure from the window of his cell.
Beholding Taj from Agra fort was another experience. More on that, in some other post probably.