The Taj Mahal – An Ode to Magnificence
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
If one word can describe the Taj Mahal, that would be Magnificent.
Like every eager traveller visiting Taj, one of the seven wonders of the world, was a prized opportunity, something that I was looking forward to very excitedly. Although unlike other fellow travellers who would probably wake up early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the Taj in the early morning orange sunlight, I chose to visit the Taj like an ordinary tourist on an ordinary day (30/12/15) at an ordinary time (1pm).
The visit to the Taj was part of a 5 day tour of the neighbouring areas devoured with Krishna bhakti – Vrindaban, Mathura, Gokul, Nand Gaon, Barsana and Govardhan. We stayed at Shree Radhe Vasundhara Resort in Govardhan. It’s a collection of luxury cottages all beautifully designed located at the foothills of Govardhan parvat – slightly outside though from the main towns of Vrindaban and Mathura. The stay was amazing and few places like Nidhi van in Vrindaban and Tatiya Sthan in Mathura were dipping in Radhe Krishna bhakti.
Amidst this backdrop, the visit to Taj felt like a pilgrimage to a temple which epitomises love and separation in the modern world – a story that resonates closely with the life with Krishna and Radha.
From the car park to the Taj entrance, the journey was made on the back of a camel – already an excitement for my 19 month old who had only seen camels in books thus far. Right at the car park, we hired a photographer and a tour guide – both to stay with us for the entire part of the journey clicking memorable pictures and imparting valuable knowledge about its history.
As I queued to enter the Royal Gate, it was that feeling of impatience which made it impossible to wait anymore to see how the first glimpse of Taj would feel. I started conjuring up permutations and combinations of all possible feelings concluding the analysis with two outcomes – it will either be a total wow coupled with a sudden gush of immense love for my life partner or a complete disaster concluding it as being overrated by the worldly people.
The moment came when I was standing facing the Taj – my mind just went blank. All that I had conjured up had disappeared and the only word that seemed to have remained in my vocabulary was Magnificient. I stood there spell bound – in the slight misty afternoon, the white Taj stood brilliantly unfazed by the 80 thousand people that visited it that day.
Although we did enter the Taj like any ordinary tourist, we did not exit it alike. Inside the Taj whilst we were admiring it’s beauty from the sides (yet to have entered the actual tomb), we met a few people responsible for Taj’s security. Their work mainly starts when all tourists are gone and the premises have been vacated. Therefore they had some time to get into a chat with us.
Chats with these security personnel ranged a wide variety of topics – politics, corruption, history, religion etc. We all just simply enjoyed the conversations and kept it going – whilst obviously our tour guide kept nudging us to go. The memories of these conversations will stay with us for a long time to come.
The visit to the insides of the Tomb actually makes you appreciate the magnificence of the Taj. The stones embellished are real gem stones. The marble used is a special Sungmarmar – white transparent marble which is quite expensive and rarely available these days. On throwing light at them, the light passes through these stones and lit them up. To see a building as huge as Taj built using a stone as expensive as that leaves you agasht at the amount of wealth India had at some point. The Mughal invasions and later on the British rule left India weak and poor.
Taj reminds you of the grand Indian history. It is a celebration of the magnificient country India was – the golden bird as one poet rightly called it.