*quoted from Rabindranath Tagore
Our plan on the second day in Agra was to wake up early to see the sunrise in Taj Mahal. We wake up at five am. Unfortunately the weather was not friendly that morning. It was a cloudy morning and the sun hid from us.
Nevertheless, the cloud did not make the Taj Mahal less beauty. It was an impressive mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, who famously known as Mumtaz Mahal, for her final resting place. Mumtaz Mahal passed away after delivering their 14th child. The story goes that Shah Jahan was deeply in love with her, that following the Taj, he also built an octagonal tower in Agra Fort with view of the Taj Mahal, his home and later on became his prison after his son’s coup.
Taj Mahal built from white marble with mixture of Islamic, Ottoman, Persian, and Indian architectural design. It was believed that a Persian architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri who led the building of Taj Mahal that took almost 20 years to complete (from year 1632). There was a gruesome tale that the Shah ordered to cut off the hands of Taj Mahal’s architect and his workers after the completion of Taj Mahal to ensure they would not build similar building. However the truth of this tale has yet to be verified.
Inside the Taj Mahal, the tombs of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal are laying down side by side. The mausoleum has four minarets on its each corner with heights about 40 meter tall and each has sort of observation post on the top. Meanwhile the dome of the Taj has finial that integrated with crescent moon, which is the symbol of Islam. However the moon was placed with its horns facing to the sky in shape of U-shape and the top of the finial forms a trident, a symbol of Hindu god, Shiva. Taj Mahal itself is in the middle of two red sandstone buildings: a mosque and a guest house called Mehmankhana.
Taj Mahal is magnificent building with exceptional stories behind it, from a love story of an emperor’s eternal love to his wife to a gruesome story of an emperor cruelty in order to protect his love masterpiece. It is no wonder that Taj Mahal has inspired many writers, poets, and painters around the world, even after hundreds year later.
Photos on India to print: India by indahs