Another extremely early call so that we could reach the Taj Mahal by dawn.
I cannot overstate how exquisitely beautiful this place is. None of the photos I’d ever seen do it justice. The white perfection of the building is subtle and nuanced in reality. Most of the photographs I have seen make the mausoleum look like white plastic.
The light changes minute by minute, sometimes gold, sometimes white. The white marble sparkles and glitters where the light catches it. The carvings have been rendered with exquisite skill and the total design is beautifully balanced – a light, airy confection made of hard durable marble. We could only wonder at the skill of those ancient carvers and inlay workers who made such a marvel. And of course, the heart-rending story of Shah Jehan’s grief for his lost wife. What a package to take on board!
After we’d had our fill of the Taj we toured Agra’s Red Fort, the original part of which dates to the sixteenth centuries. It’s still in use today by the Indian army, so we only had access to part of the structure. It would have been a monstrous building to try and storm if you were an invader.
Finally we visited a marble workshop where we were shown the intricacies of inlay work. Tiny minute fragments are ground to shape and embedded into marble. We admired the work, most of which was far too large to transport, although the factory was more than willing to pack it up for us. We contented ourselves with a set of marble inlay coasters as a memory of a special day.
The requisite romantic photo
The main gate
Golden, in the early morning light
Details of inlay
Details of carvings
Tiled floor. We had to wear covers on our shoes to protect them
A side view of the Taj
The long verandah at the entrance gate
A typical lunch
An evening at the theatre - the history of Shah Jehan and his wife