"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Taj Redux?

Our driver, Ravinder, had looked after us brilliantly in Delhi.

Today he was to take us to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
It was a five-hour journey through busy traffic, variable roads and worsening weather.

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During my first visit to India, the Taj Mahal was high on our must see list.
My family fulfilled this “tryst with destiny”.
I did not.
Though tantalisingly close to the Taj, I spent the allocated day completely unable to leave my hotel bathroom. 

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On this, my second visit, I watched what I was eating with greater care and, as we arrived in Agra, my bowels remained pleasingly quiescent.

But the same could not be said for the weather.
Unseasonal monsoon rains were falling so heavily that the long-awaited tour was still unattainable.
Again I spent my Taj-time in an hotel bedroom,

One step closer to the Taj Mahal, I reflected, than a bathroom. 

The guide hired by Ravinder suggested we delay our scheduled early morning return to Delhi. We would all meet up again at 6:00 in the morning.
If it was dry, we might take our tour before breakfast, when the climate was cool and the site less crowded.

We awoke to some mist
But no rain.
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The sheer size, perfect symmetry and breathtaking beauty of this monument to love and loss are staggering.

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The Taj Mahal’s impact is almost overwhelming.

 Its drama touches people in different ways.

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But the experience remains unforgettable.

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All photographs taken on this tour of the Taj Mahal.

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8 responses

  1. Toffeeapple

    Oh, the beauty of it! I am so glad that you managed to get there this time. I shall have another look, it is ravishing.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    • It is so utterly perfect, quite sublime.. The scale of the project is breathtaking, its simplicity and beauty beyond that of any other great architectural site I have ever visited.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm

  2. It appears that one could spend many days there to take in all the fine details.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 am

    • It’s a vast complex, Susan. The building we think of as the Taj Mahal is only one of the five architectural wonders it houses. Though it’s the only one in white marble and the focus of all the others, which are in red sandstone. The details are exquisite..

      September 21, 2011 at 7:26 am

  3. JGP

    Such a shame about the dark history behind it – if true.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

    • Perhaps not surprisingly, quite a few myths have grown up around its construction.
      Shah Jahan, the Moghul Emperor who built it was certainly deposed by his son before its completion, and he probably never saw the Taj in its finished form.

      The plan for a mirror-imaged “Black Taj” are probably fantasy. The store of black marble found on the other side of the river, turned out to be weathered and neglected white marble. And writers have also pointed out that the Taj’s shadowed reflection in the garden pools can give rise to a “mirror-image black Taj”

      Similarly, the story that the craftsmen who built the Taj were mutilated to prevent them building anything so beautiful again have now been dismissed by historians. It seems they were given land and court commissions: well paid sinecures, which meant they never needed to seek work again.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

  4. JP

    Thank you! I feel educated and relieved.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    • Then this blog’s function has been served!

      September 24, 2011 at 7:11 am

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