The story begins with a wealthy emperor named Shah Jahan. He lived a lavish life in india. His favourite wife gave him 14 children by the age of 38.
Sadly, while giving birth to number 14, she passed away. Distraught, the emperor couldn’t simply bury her like anyone else. Instead in 1633 he comissioned the Taj Mahal to be built in her memory. He employed 20,000 artisans and spent the equivalent of 827 million US dollars. The building took 10 years to construct.
Inside is a tomb where the queen is burried, alongside the emperor who was later laid to rest beside his beloved.
Four minerets on the outside frame the tomb. They are built leaning slightly outwards in order the be earthquake proof.
It was predicted that the Taj Mahal would collapse in 2016 due to its timbre foundations which are wearing away. This is because the nearby river water level is decreasing. Consequently, now is a good time to visit before it no longer exists.
My day began with an alarm at 5am, wanting to beat the crowds and the scorching sun. We walked to the ticket counter: a 20 minute walk from hostel Zostel. The tickets cost 1,000 rupees or £10. Following this, you join the queue for entry. We got near to the front at around 6am.
On entering, we were greeted with a 300 meter sqaured green garden. A water feature ran down the middle. This was the first time in India that I didn’t see a single cow. You enter through a spectacular red mosque and then see the Taj Mahal itself. It looks humongous.
I imagined it to be whiter than it was. I guess the pollution in the city has made its roof slightly tinged.
We sat next to the temple letting it tower above us.
The river ran just next to it.
Inside the Taj Mahal was rather small compared to the outside. There was one room to look in with the tombs.
Walking back outside we were blessed with more spectacular views.
It was relaxing sitting while watching tourists pass and admiring the architecture.
By 9.30/10 am we were ready for breakfast. I enjoyed a rice pudding overlooking the Taj Mahal at Kamal hotel roof top.
Walking back to the hostel, I saw a nature trail, which I could not resist. Paying 100 rupees I entered and roamed around. I felt completely at peace. The last few days have been in busy, lively cities. At this moment I was totally alone with no other human in sight. I followed a well looked after trail and reached a viewing platform where I lay down exhausted and enjoyed the view.
There was also a pond, a playground and some sculptures to admire.
As the morning progressed, I passed couples relaxing in the shade just off the path.
For two whole hours I did not hear a single horn beep. This must have been the only two hours in the last two weeks that were this quiet. All that could be heard were birds chirping in the trees.
I slowly made my way back to the hostel for a power nap.
Later on we went out to enjoy an ice coffee which was divine.
We watched sunset from the river next to the Taj Mahal. While it is a holy area outside, the fence provides a picture of contrast. Smelly rubbish littered the river. It was hard to believe that the pristine Taj was directly next to a dump.
Despite this hideous eyesore, I would recommend visiting the Taj Mahal. It is a wonderful palace that proves a great day out.
Make sure not to visit on a Friday as it is shut for prayer.