The iconic Taj Mahal needs no introduction – the epitome of love with one of a kind architecture!!!
Last month I got a chance(again!!) to visit the iconic Taj Mahal – One of the Seven Wonders of the World. I have been to Taj before as well yet this time I documented it in my camera roll more like a traveler rather than a tourist.
History Of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal a 17th-century architectural landmark in the world history, a part of Seven Wonders of the World is known both for its striking architecture and the love story behind it.
The Taj was built as a mausoleum by Shah Jahan and his 13th wife Mumtaz Mahal. Well, one must be surprised to know about the number of wives he had, I was too! But Mumtaz was his favorite and that’s the reason he gave her the name Mumtaz Mahal meaning ‘Jewel of the Palace’ and thus very few people know her real name – Arjumanad Banu. It is believed that it was love at first sight for Shah Jahan when he saw Mumtaz working in Meena Bazaar. She even accompanied him to the military sites. While giving the birth to their 14th child, Mumtaz died and it was then Shah Jahan promised her never to remarry and will build the richest memorial for her. Thus we have the iconic Taj Mahal here in India.
We started early morning around 5h00 via Delhi-Agra Expressway & reached the outskirts of the town around 8h00. While still on way, we got to know about the new route especially for the Taj without having to enter the main congested town saved us a lot of time. We parked the cab approx. 1.5 km before Taj and rather than walking till the entry we decided to hop on the government cab at a merely 10/- per person. You might find other options as well including a carriage which charge as high as 250/- for that small distance. The entry ticket for Taj can be bought from the office near Parking lot itself. We boarded the cab and it took us no more than 5 mins to reach Taj.
To my surprise, the entry lane to the Taj have improved significantly and the road/shops are much more organized now. We took a small halt at one of the shops to buy sunglasses & hats as we forgot to bring ours 😦 and it’s actually difficult to enjoy the historic monument when you can’t keep your eyes open in the scorching sun. That was a moment of nostalgia as I remember how much the area around Taj have tidied up and the shops are well maintained. Moving on, we passed through the security at the entry gate quickly as it was still quiet in the early morning hours.
As we got inside there was a huge entry gate to the Taj built of Red Sandstone. Went ahead within the premises, took a stroll around the beautiful gardens and found the newly restored (still in progress) the shining white Taj in the front which indeed was mesmerizing in itself.
The main complex has two red sandstone monuments mirroring the Taj on left & right side which are also an architectural marvel. One of the building is a Mosque and the other is a Jawab (answer) hall. The Jawab hall later went on to being majorly used as a guesthouse.
After exploring the Jawab hall, we moved on to exploring the exteriors of the Taj facing the holy river – the Yamuna moving on in the direction of the Mosque. The boat rides are also available for viewing the Taj from a different perspective. We missed it for now but will cover it the next time.
The Humayun Tomb, in Delhi, is also built on the similar lines and one might find the similarity in the outer structure of both the tombs. Yet the two differ greatly in the use of stones as the former used Red Sandstone and the Taj used White Marble with intricate Mughal style decorations. Well, also in terms of grandeur as well.
Photography is seriously prohibited inside the Tomb and you might lose your camera/mobile if you try to click and the security officials are on the watch for preventing it. Once you’re out of the main hall where the actual graves are kept, you can click pictures again. You can see one of the picture here which I clicked from the outer hall of the main tomb of Taj and that is one of my favorite shot from the Taj. After visiting the Tomb coming towards the exit gateway from the gardens, we get another gorgeous view of the Taj.
No matter what angle you choose for clicking Taj, the pictures are surely going to be amazing. The above one I tried while entering the Taj from the Jawab Mahal route and liked the perspective of the corner!!
The mausoleum is surrounded by four minarets which became an essential part of Mughal architecture from the 17th-century under Shah Jahan’s reign. The minarets stand high at 137 feet and are an important part of Islamic architecture. The minarets in the Taj were introduced as the stairs to the sky and their decoration is exceptional when compared to other minarets in mosques. The minarets have three balconies, an umbrella-shaped dome and a crescent at the top. But these are not open for the tourists, but that doesn’t stop us from capturing it from outside!!
When coming out from the mausoleum, the gardens stand in the front of the grand entrance gate. The grandeur of the entry is as magnificent as the Taj itself.
The exit from the Taj takes us through the side gardens with another spectacular view of the mausoleum and another photographic opportunity.
Have you had the chance to visit this wonder of the world? Do share your experience with me!! B
As a native Indian and Taj being just being a 2.5-hour drive away, I always take it for granted. But I completely get it, sitting in your home and planning a trip to the Taj can be tough. If you guys have doubts – hop on to the questions Jill answered at “Reading the Book Travel” about What’s it like to visit the Taj Mahal.
Did I inspire you enough to visit the Taj Mahal? Save it to your Pinterest boards…
– The Wanderer