One of the most famous landmarks in India is the Taj Mahal. Ever since I was in elementary school, I had always wanted to see this marvelous white marble mausoleum. It was almost about 15 years later, that I finally had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal.
Jason and I arrived into Agra, India around midnight by train from Delhi. We were told by our driver, sunrise would be the best time to see the Taj Mahal. However, we were too exhausted to wake up so early, so we planned to visit during noon. That was a huge mistake.
Although Agra is home to one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, the city itself is very dirty and crowded with beggars. Walking up the street to the entrance of the Taj Mahal was an adventure in itself. We were continually harassed by beggars and young children trying to sell various merchandise. It wasn’t very pleasant. It felt like we had to overcome all sorts of obstacles in order to reach the treasure at the end of the road. Thus, it was only after dealing with all the chaos in the streets, we finally arrived to the gates of the wonderful Taj Mahal.
I was extremely eager to finally see the Taj Mahal. I had waited for this moment for nearly 2 decades! As I turned the corner, and set my eyes on the beautiful Taj Mahal, I was in complete awe. I knew it would be beautiful since I had seen numerous photographs of it before, but to see this extraordinary masterpiece in person was unbelievable! I remember just standing still for a few moments and being captivated by all its beauty. It seemed so grandiose, symmetrical and perfect to me. It was the real deal right infront of my eyes, not just a photograph or postcard. When a dream you have been imagining for years actually comes true, the feeling is priceless.
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor named Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Today it is the burial place for both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. It is also an excellent example of Mughal architecture. It was designed using a combination of elements from the Persian, Islamic, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. Beautifully intricate marble designs are present everywhere on both the interior and exterior of the Taj Mahal.
Even though the Taj Mahal is famous for its white domed marble mausoleum, it is actually an integrated complex of structures. For example, at the far end of the complex lies this grand red sandstone Taj Mahal mosque.
This gorgeous Mughal garden and various pathways lie in between the gateway and mausoleum.
Visiting the Taj Mahal is worth every penny. It is one of the most beautiful structures I have seen in all my travels.