The Taj Mahal

Trip Start Oct 02, 2005
Trip End Sep 28, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I always thought the phrase 'Breathtaking' was exactly that, just a phrase.  I didn't realise it could actually happen until I walked through the southern gate and laid eyes upon the Taj Mahal. 

Out of all the sights the world has to offer, the Taj Mahal has always been near the top of my list.  Some of these famous sights don't live up to the hype or expectation, but others take you by surprise with their sheer size or beauty.  The Taj Mahal definitely fell into the later category.  Anyone with a basic interest of architecture can spend hours just admiring, pondering and revering this incredible feat of human ingenuity.  Standing back from afar to admire the Taj is fine, but try to ignore the crowds jostling for that perfectly symmetrical photo and head up for a closer look. 

I didn't think it was possible, but the Taj Mahal is even more impressive up close and personal than it is as an iconic photograph.  To touch its smooth white marble is almost heavenly, tracing the detailed calligraphy as it creeps up the walls like some beautiful black, shimmering ivy.   Things which are only apparent when viewed up close suddenly make me appreciate this incredible building even more.  Exquisitely detailed carvings of flowers and vines snake their way around the lower walls.  Passages from the Qur'an are inlayed through the white marble with jasper, levelled and polished to the surface of the wall, with fingers unable to differentiate the transition. 

Inside the decoration becomes even more astounding.  Precious gemstones now practically cover the walls.  An octagonal screen surrounds the entombed bodies of Shah Jahan, and his beloved wife Mumtaz.  The eight screens each a masterpiece in their own right.  Unfathomably meticulous carvings of vines and flowers, inlaid with semiprecious stones.  To see the Taj Mahal is to be astounded by it.  From first glance of its sheer enormity, to the intricate stone and marble carvings that adorn the inside.  There's little doubt why it's regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 

Like I said, breathtaking.
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