So we did go to the Taj on Christmas Day. Getting there and back was a royal pain and it took forever, so we didn’t get to see anything else but I don’t want to write about that. I want to write about the the Taj because being there was amazing. I guess it’s one of those things that you just have to see to appreciate. It is bigger and more magnificent than what I thought it would be based on pictures I had seen. And there are some terrific pictures of it out there. We took a bunch too and I thought I’d share them with you here, so let’s take a “tour,” shall we?
First, here is a nice map of the whole complex to help you follow along, courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine:
We entered the complex through the East Gate (2 above, left below), went through the forecourt (4 above) and found ourselves in front of the Great Gate (7 above, right below), which is made of marble and red sandstone, decorated with semi-precious stone inlays and calligraphy.
Even though it’s called a “gate,” inside the Great Gate is a room which is kinda dark and as you enter it, you immediately see the Taj beautifully framed by the Mughal style arch.
Then you step out and get a full view of the Taj and the Mughal gardens around it. The gardens are said to represent heaven on earth. The view is truly breathtaking, or at least it was for me. I remember thinking, “Wow, he must have really loved her!” because it was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, who died delivering their 14th child. Of course, he was the head of a very large empire and he could afford to do something like that but the point is, he didn’t have to. She was already gone. He chose to do it and that’s beautiful. Because the Taj is a true masterpiece, evidenced by the millions who make the trip to see it. We went on Christmas Day thinking there would be less people because Christians are a minority in India but it was packed. Go figure…
On each side the Taj is flanked by two matching buildings (pictured below, and 13 and 14 on the map up top) constructed in the same style/materials as the Great Gate – one is a mosque and the other was a guest house.
The Taj itself is made of white marble and is also decorated with semi-precious stone inlays and calligraphy. It is surrounded by 4 tall marble minarets. Here are some close ups:
It backs onto the Yamuna river, the largest tributary to the Ganges.
We did not go inside the Taj because the lines were very long. See those people on the balcony and below it - they are all waiting to get in.
We did get some nice people to take a picture of all of us in front of the Taj though.
So there you have it, a tour of the one and only Taj Mahal. Hope you liked it.