Monday, 22 February 2010

The Taj

You don’t go to Agra for the city; you go for the Taj. Dispel every photo or video you’ve ever seen because the Taj, when you’re stood before it at the first light of day, is more awe-inspiring, more breathtaking and more utterly beautiful than you can ever possibly imagine.

Built by Emporor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during childbirth, the Taj is often described as the most extravagant monument built for love. The emperor’s brief to his architect was to recreate heaven on earth; the architect succeeded! The perfect symmetry (it’s exactly as wide as it is high and the height of the dome is exactly the same height as from the ground to the base of the dome), exquisite Mughal architectural design and virtually transparent marble blocks inlaid with semi-precious and precious stones give the Taj magical qualities that deliver a real sense of other worldliness.

The magic starts as the sun begins to rise. The Taj gradually emerges from its hazy mirage to be warmed with a pale wash of yellow. As you watch, the suns golden glow slowly turns a rusty red, and the Taj transforms before your eyes reflecting the sun’s rays as a marvel in pink. The sun continues to rise until its colour bleaches. At this point the Taj once again regresses to become a ghostly mirage of white.

Standing there watching the transformation of the Taj is exceptionally moving and a wholly enchanting experience. The sheer amount of passion, love, vision, sweat and tears that went into its building is a fantastic testament to the character of human nature at its best. If I was to imagine a heaven, I would guess that the building of the Taj is a pretty close re-creation of it.

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