The Taj Mahal the love story is one of the Seventh Wonders of the World. But in addition to its sumptuousness, the building contains one of the most touching Mogul love stories. This blog is dedicated to the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of eternal love par excellence, which seemed quite appropriate to me. The Taj Mahal was born from the great love that a man had for his woman. When anyone announces that he or she is going to India, one of the first questions is “Go to see the Taj Mahal too, right”? India is not only the Taj Mahal, but in the popular imagination, it is certainly one of the first icons that come to mind, after all, it is one of the best-known and most-visited monuments in the world.
You see it represented everywhere, in history books, in tourist brochures, and geography books so much that you think you know it even before arriving but no matter how hard you try, the beauty of the live mausoleum is such as making any kind of imaginative effort vain. The Taj Mahal the love story is the most extraordinary building I have ever seen, pure, white, and perfectly proportioned. Only the power of love could be able to create a masterpiece of such enchantment and perfection.
How to Visit Taj Mahal ?
The Taj Mahal is the symbol of eternal love but if you think that Agra is a romantic city you are off track. In Agra, as well as in most large Indian cities, the chaos and traffic are crazy. The hotel where I would have stayed was a stone’s throw from the Taj Mahal and upon entering the city my heart sank seeing that the road signs only indicated 1 km on arrival. Too bad that it took a good half hour to travel that km!
But the beauty of the Taj Mahal is such that I could have endured spending the whole day in the car. It is no coincidence that the Taj Mahal is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and part of its magnetism is due to the legend that surrounds it. If you don’t know it, here it is in brief:
The Taj Mahal was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a princess originally from Persia, who died shortly after giving birth to their fourteenth child. Her death was so tragic for the emperor that her hair and beard within a few months turned completely white with grief. While Mumtaz Mahal was still alive, she had asked the emperor to make four promises to her in case she died before him. For first promise she asked him to build the Taj; the second was that she would have to marry again to give a new mother to their children; the third promise was that he would always be good and understanding with their children; and the fourth, that he would always visit her grave on the anniversary of her death. The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and took 22 years to complete. It is estimated that more than a thousand elephants were used to drag the very heavy marbles and, legend has it, that all the workers involved in the titanic undertaking had their hands amputated at the end of the construction, to ensure that the work was never repeated.
Once the thousand controls have been passed, it can be glimpsed from the entrance, beyond the large and majestic door, which gives the complex an imperial and suggestive atmosphere.
I am greeted by beautiful gardens with fountains and canals, where the Taj Mahal is almost vainly reflected. It is so beautiful and magnetic that it is difficult to take your eyes off those perfect shapes.
The Indian poet Tagone called it “a tear of marble resting on the cheek of time”.
Never read a more poetic and evocative quote than this. The Taj Mahal stands on a red sandstone base, surmounted by a huge dome, flanked by four tapering minarets over 40 meters high. They were built with a slight slope outward so that in the event of an earthquake, they would not collapse onto the Taj Mahal.
For the construction of the Taj Mahal, white marble and twenty-eight types of precious stones from all over Asia were used: turquoises from Tibet, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, sapphires from Sri Lanka, jasper from Punjab, white marble from Rajasthan, crystals and jade from China. The materials with which it was built and its location close to the Yamuna River allow for a magical play of light and colour. Based on the seasons and the alternation of day and night, the Taj Mahal actually changes its color pinkish in the morning, silver-white in the evening, golden when the moon rises. As if to reflect the changing character of a woman, at least that’s what they say in India.
I take off my shoes and enter the mausoleum, where are the tombs of Princess Mumtaz and that of the emperor, Shah Jahan, buried here after his death in 1666. Both tombs, however, are empty, the bodies of the rulers have been transferred in the underground crypt.
Two mosques, in red sandstone flank the Taj Mahal and represent an important place of aggregation and prayer.
Turning behind the structure, you will see the Yamuna River, where the Mughal Mehta Bagh Park is located. It is not always possible to access it, but from there you can admire the Taj Mahal from another beautiful perspective.
You will be stopped every two steps by Indians who will want to take a souvenir photo with you or who will ask you to be immortalized by your reflex cameras. At first it may seem like a joke but for them it is a real honor to be able to take a picture or exchange a few words with a Westerner. Don’t be too stiff, smile and play along. Despite having been lucky enough to visit the Taj Mahal twice, I have been involved in so many group photos that in the end, in the general confusion, I find myself without a decent photo of myself! Irony of fate.
Being one of the most visited monuments in the world, unfortunately the complex is always very crowded and this can negatively affect your visit, because let’s face it, without wanting to fall into cultural labels, Indians are much louder and ruder than us when they want Italians.
Is there a better time to visit then?
Generally they recommend visiting it at dawn, being the moment of least attendance and this was my idea but the hotel advised me to visit it immediately as soon as I arrived because in winter the mornings are characterized by a thick fog and the risk was not to being able to see nothing at all but its silhouette.
Reluctantly, I followed their recommendations and although the checks to enter were quick, I believe that half of India had made an appointment there.
In summary, a lot depends on the climate, the period and always and in any case on a minimum of luck.
- Useful information for visiting the Taj Mahal
- The visit to the mausoleum is allowed every day except Friday, so be careful how you organize your trip. It is also possible to visit it at night during the full moon but the number of visitors allowed is limited.
- The entrance ticket costs 1050 rupees, about 13 usd for all foreigners, while Indians are entitled to a reduced price.
- The queue to enter is often long and slow, arm yourself with patience.
- The controls are rigid, it is not possible to introduce backpacks or tripods.
- As in most Indian monuments, some areas of the Taj Mahal can be visited barefoot, alternatively you can take advantage of the shoe covers that will be delivered to you with the ticket.
- Beware of the large group of monkeys you will find at the gates.
They are very voracious and don’t have too much trouble snooping around in your bags if you accidentally place them on the ground.