Taj Mahal (Agra, India) The Epitome of Love


Under the Mughal Rule during the 16th and the 17th century, Agra was the capital of India and since the first half of the seventeenth century it has been the home to the most fascinating monument of the world which till date reign supreme; the Taj Mahal.
Described as the most grandiose and expensive monument in the World, the Taj was built exclusively for ‘love’ and has now become the epitome of love.
Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty that ruled India for generations was the creator of the Taj; the mausoleum built in the memory of his beloved and exquisite wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631.
Any kind of air polluting vehicle is not allowed near the monument so we got off from our car at the designated car park and took a horse drawn carriage locally called a ‘tonga’ and proceeded towards the building.
Visiting the Taj in a day is not justified because every phase of the day and every season of the year have a different view of the Taj; the white marble surface of the Taj glows brightly in the scorching sun of summer, reflects the grey-clouded sky during the rains and has a pristine look during the cold winter months.
There are three entrances to the Taj but only one is used now which is actually a small door through which visitors are allowed in after brisk security check. The narrow path that leads from the gate is flanked by lush green lawns on both sides and after a while the grand entrance is spotted. Entering through this gate, the Taj is at full view; the majestic presence has only one expression, ‘wow’ so beautiful! 
The construction of this monument began at 1631 and involved more than 20000 workers from across Asia and even experts from Europe.
There is a long watercourse that leads to the Taj from the entrance and on a clear day the shadow of the entire structure reflects on the water. The mausoleum stands on a raised marble platform where the waterways end and the four corners of this platform are graced by tall and decorative minarets. On the ground level one has to remove the shoes and walk barefoot inside the tomb. The platform is wide and the walls and structures are intricately carved and decorated by Arabic scripts, floral patterns and even have traces of precious stones that were originally used for decoration. There is a huge chandelier that hangs from the center of the dome which was a gift from the British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon.
The central structure of the Taj has four small domes surrounding the main tomb and the tombs of the Empress and the emperor himself are in the basement. Presently, entry to this chamber is not permitted due to some possible vandalism or graffiti on the wall. The chamber is covered by finely cut marble screens through which the sunlight goes in. From any angle, the Taj is absolutely beautiful and it is only a close look at the carvings that will make one sure about the hardwork and sincerity that went into it. It is said that lot of workers’ hands and thumbs were cut off so that they could not build another ‘Taj’ anywhere else in the World.
The recent attraction of Taj has been watching it in the moon light. A total of 400 tourists at a time are permitted to see the Taj on or around moonlit nights, on five specific nights in a month. These nights are the full moon night itself and the two nights before and after the full moon night. Taj Mahal Tourism provides a list of full moon nights for a year to enable the visitors to plan the trip beforehand.
Visitors from across the world come to see this architectural marvel and admire its radiant beauty, when under the light of the full moon the Taj is said to appear at its best; shimmering like a fairytale castle built for a legendary princess. 
For security purposes tourists are allowed to view the Taj from a distance of 500 m, from a nearby red sandstone platform and are permitted to carry still cameras for photography and binoculars for viewing. 
On entering the premises of the Taj, visitors are sure to get surrounded by photographers offering to click their snap shots with the Taj at the background. A small tip to those who would like to consider being photographed with the Taj; these photographers can create magic. With the help of trick photography they would make you hold the tip of the Taj or even place the entire structure on your palm. It is a unique opportunity to get photographed so intimately with this majestic wonder of the World.
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