“… Only let this one teardrop, this Taj Mahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever.” Rabindranath Tagore
The best time to immerse in the beauty of the Taj Mahal is at dawn. Hand in hand, we walked towards its huge gate. The air was fresh, the birds were chirping, and the morning so tranquil. It took us just five minutes from the hotel to the main gate, on foot. There were only a handful of tourists around. Hubby paid for our tickets: Rs 20 for Indian nationals and Rs 750 for foreigners; Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals are required to submit a photocopy of their passports.
Hubby bought the Rs 20 ticket for me, and I was stopped at the gate. The guard was certain I wasn’t an Indian, but eventually let me in when I spoke to him in Hindi. But he did ask Hubby to show some IDs to prove his citizenship. Then, we finally got in.
Right after the security check …
The Main Gate
“It is well to pause before entering, and admire the proportions and perfect taste of the decoration of this gateway; fore afterwards one has no eyes for anything but the Taj itself.” David Carroll
Just at this point, I had already taken a dozen photographs.
My own photograph of the Taj Mahal; the first one taken.
I have seen hundreds of photos, but nothing can ever prepare you for the real thing. It took my breath away. We were among the first batch of tourists that day, so I was lucky to take this photo with nobody in sight. Everyone looked at the Taj in awe; there was silence. I have already taken a dozen more photos at this point.
Taj Mahal is certainly one of those places where you can’t stop taking photographs. You just don’t want to miss anything, not even a heart beat.
The rising sun casting a subtle pinkish glow on the white marble.
Looking back at the main gate.
A closer look.
The 93-feet high entrance into the mausoleum.
An inscription from the Qur’an says:
(It will be said to the pious): O (you) the one in
(complete) rest and satisfaction!
Come back to your Lord, — well-pleased (yourself)
and well-pleasing unto him!
Enter you, then, among My honored slaves,
And enter you My Paradise!
– The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Fajr: 89:27-30
Wore these over our shoes to protect the marble from scratches.
The Yamuna River, right behind the Taj Mahal. See that blurry image at the end of the river? That’s Agra Fort.
The Guest House
Just outside the guest house
Pollution Index Monitor
Hubby exploring the masjid
Prayers are still being offered here, daily.
They have adopted the old ways of maintaining the grass, to prevent pollution.
This trip had been the most memorable in my entire life, and will always be. This was my husband’s gift to me, knowing how much I had wanted to see this monument. He made sure I was comfortable and safe during the entire trip, and made great efforts to make sure we had a great time. He never once checked his mails during the trip, and had deliberately put away his phone in one of the suitcases. He made sure it was just us.
Travel Date: April 8 ’08