Last year, my trip to North India was my last big trip before COVID travel restrictions…seems so long ago. It was freezing cold in December, but seeing the landmarks was worth it. Of the numerous landmarks, Taj Mahal was my favorite.
The Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world, and after visiting the monument I understand why.
Built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal. When approaching the monument, it looks like a spec in the distance, but as you walk closer to it, its true size is revealed. It is over 200 feet tall and the sheer number of people visiting seem tiny in comparison.
There are calligraphy inscriptions on the walls reaching great heights and the marble is carved very intricately. There were once gemstones embedded into the marble, adding to its grandeur.
The massive marble structure is corroding due to the pollution in Agra. The white marble is stained yellow and green, and efforts are underway to restore the wonder of the world. This corrosion could be seen more predominantly on the side closest to the Yamuna River.
Visitors are requested to wear shoe covers to protect the marble, since seven to eight million people visit the Taj Mahal annually.
We entered the main crypt wearing our shoe covers and were told not to touch any of the marble. Through the lattice work we saw the tombs made of intricately detailed white marble.
Across the Yamuna River, a Kaala Taj (or Black Taj) was planned to be built, but was never constructed. It was going to be constructed with black marble in contrast to the white marble of the Taj Mahal, yet smaller in size. The foundation of the Kaala Taj is visible from the back side of the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal holds so much history from it’s construction to it’s beauty and the politics around it. Make sure to get a tour guide when you visit the Taj Mahal, so you can appreciate its history and magnificence (and dress warm if you are visiting in the winter!)