Taj Mahal: iconic monument to love

November 18, 2013
My first view, from our hotel room patio.

My first view, from our hotel room patio.

When the turbaned bellman ushered us into our hotel room I glanced out the back door to our patio and saw…the Taj Mahal.

“Seriously?!!!” I said, to no one in particular, yet again.  This trip has been filled with wonders and the Taj Mahal is the most magnificent

We set out just after dawn to see it in the morning light, and then again at sunset.  I’ll let the photo speak for themselves, and at the end, have a little story or two for you.

Morning light: 8am

Morning light: 8am



taj with indians

The man at far left in the hat is our tour guide, but the others are not part of our group.

taj2 clear
A treasure for the Indian people.

As it turns out, our tour guide was the very same guide who showed Princess Diana the Taj Mahal and was just out of the frame when that iconic photo of her sitting alone on a bench, wistful and making the point that Prince Charles was not there. He stayed back in Jaipur, we’re told, and frankly, I don’t blame him. It’s a cute little city and Agra is a pit. In any case, our guide confirmed that Diana was in fact severely depressed on that trip.

A few other things. We couldn’t photograph inside, and had to put these on:

booties onAlso, bus traffic must stop about a kilometer from the Taj Mahal. Only battery-operated vehicles are allowed further so smog doesn’t damage the monument. However, the city is so polluted already that it doesn’t seem like a restriction that will be very protective.

2 comments on “Taj Mahal: iconic monument to love
  1. chuck house says:

    I first ‘saw’ the Taj in Lowell Thomas’s fantastic film Cimerama in 1952. When I walked through the portal to see the ‘real thing’ it was so magical, so majestic, so dejavu that I cried. The pollution in the city is indeed too big a problem for the local restriction to help; marble unfortunately is almost uniquely damageable with smog components.
    The big story for me about this monument to LOVE from the builder to his dead lover is that when the Taj was finished, he ordered the amputation of both arms for 22,000 artisans who built it for him, so that no other ruler could construct something equally grand. His own son imprisoned him for the rest of his life, and he could see the Taj from his prison cell by using a slivered mirror fragment to look out the window that was well over his head. And we thought Steve Jobs was a tough employer….

    • admin says:

      I actually looked that up and could find no substantiation for it–but it’s circulated for years, some version of it or another. It also circulates about a few other world monuments. I think it might be urban legend, but who knows. I didn’t bother to ask our guide, I wouldn’t believe him. But I’m going to do more research when Iget home.

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