There was a song that I remember the lyrics of which went by “jeevan mein ek baar aana Singapore” but truly if you ask me I will sing it like “jeevan mein ek baar aana Taj Mahal”. Reams have been written extolling the architectural marvel and the undying love of an emperor for his begum; but nothing compares to the moment when you see it for yourself. It is on the map of every foreign tourist worth his/her salt to India and on the list of Indians alike. It is crowded yet stands apart and despite the jostling each and every visitor has a unique dialogue with the awesomeness that is Taj. Myths and lore that abound adds to its mystery.
One foggy wintry day we too decided to make that 1 day trip to Agra, the motivation being the nephew from sadda Canada. Though still in grade four he is fascinated with buildings and architectural details and is our in-house Lego master. So obviously Taj was on his radar when he came to India and his sole request to his grandparents who were willing to indulge in every possible way. Though it is said that the Yamuna expressway is quicker we were travelling from west Delhi so didn’t take it. It took many hours on the road to reach Taj and we didn’t get time to do or see anything else; no not even the neighboring fort and reached back home post midnight but well it was all worth the effort.
From the parking we took camel cart to reach the Taj Mahal. Kids were super excited and loved every minute of it, the detail that they noted was the diaper the camel wore, ripples of laughter set the tone for the day. From getting various “smart angle” photographs done to “wow”ing at each and every detail right from the floor pattern to the chandelier given by Lord Curzon to the char bagh patterned gardens and the dream of a black Taj harbored by the emperor as also mulling over the absence of Yamuna river to the increase in pollution levels we did it all.
It was a good trip is to say the least, I wish we had more time to explore the other monuments including the Akbar ka makbara (tomb) in the suburbs, but like my bro said “Taj is Taj”.
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Did You Know: The entire Taj Mahal is perfectly symmetrical and at the central axis lies the grave of Mumtaz Mahal, however, the irony is that the only element out of symmetry is the grave of the emperor himself!!