I have been to Agra with my parents during my childhood days. Looking at the beauty of Taj Mahal and knowing its history as being the monument of love, I made a secret wish back then that I will surely visit Taj Mahal again with my love when I will find him I know I sound silly but come on I am just another heavily bollywood influenced Punjabi girl :D. Even though I found my love as my husband, Pushkar, but that secret wish remained a wish as we moved to US after marriage. We did make occasional trips to India but they use to be super jam packed with family functions, lunches, dinners and meeting friends. I am true believer that whatever happens in our life is for a good reason. After we moved to India, we got an invitation from Pushkar’s friend for his wedding in Agra. Pushkar tossed the idea of spending an extra day in Agra to visit Taj Mahal and I got super excited that I was getting a chance to visit Taj Mahal with my love (my husband) and my Life (my daughter). I couldn’t have asked for more.
We took a 10 o’clock for Agra on the night of 19th December and reached Agra early morning next day. We were received at the bus stop by a family member of Pushkar’s friend. A room was booked for us in the hotel where the marriage was to take place. We attended the marriage function in the night and came back early to our room (around 1:00 AM which is considered early as per Indian wedding standards ) and crashed. Next day we planned to get up early as we had heard from friends and family that it is better to reach Taj Mahal early in the morning to avoid the crowd but with a LO there is no meaning to the words early and late. We should adjust our clock as per baby’s need and mood . We took a cab from our hotel and reached Taj Mahal at around 12 noon. The weather was perfect and I think that the best time to visit Taj Mahal is winters only as it can get really hot in summers. There are three entry gates to the Taj Mahal, Eastern, western and Southern, we chose the Western gate.
Western gateway to Taj Mahal
After buying tickets from the counter (Rs 40 for adults and free for the kids) guides and photographers started following us. We finalized one of them after seeing their clicked pictures and went straight for the security check. Security personnel were really strict and didn’t allow us to take any eatables inside for our daughter but they were sweet enough to let her hold two biscuits before throwing the rest of them in the dustbin. We entered Western gate and were awestruck at the first sight of the white marble spectacle.
Numerous books and articles have been written describing the beauty of Taj Mahal , the epitome of love, but the beauty of this marble wonder is beyond the scope of words. Our two year old daughter also seemed to be taken aback by seeing such a beauty that she was just running towards the monument so she could touch it. We had to cook up some stories to stop her from running and let us take some pictures J On entering the western gate we see a formal Persian Garden with fountain with paved walkways and rows of dark cypresses.
The exquisite marble structure is a mausoleum, built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during childbirth. Taj Mahal is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world and is also the masterpieces of Indian Muslim architecture. It is recognized among the Seven Wonders of the World and is also UNESCO World Heritage site along with Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri which are also located in Agra.
Taj Mahal is surrounded by red sandstone wall on three sides and the fourth side is open facing the river Yamuna. It incorporates both the Persian and Mughal architecture using white marble and semi-precious stones. It took 22 years to compete this symbol of eternal love. The exterior and interior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture and one must see it to believe it. Inside the Taj Mahal, the main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan and the actual graves are at a lower level which is not open to visitors.
We spent around three hours wandering around the Taj and taking pictures. Still we couldn’t get enough of the “Crown Palace” and while walking towards the exit we still kept looking back to assimilate even the last glimpse of this majestic beauty.