Visit to the Taj Mahal

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
Trip End Sep 27, 2008

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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Thursday, September 4, 2008

I knew almost nothing about the Taj Mahal other than it was very beautiful and one of the wonders of the world.  My 95 year old mother had told me it was a love story and asked that I bring her back something that told the story and a replica of the Taj Mahal.

What I learned is that the Taj Mahal is really a tragedy.  The Taj Mahal, (Crown Palace) is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his third wife - Empress Muntaz Mahal - who was the love of his life, bore him 14 children and died during the birth of their last child.  They were married for 19 years and she had been his inseparable companion and advisor during that time.

The Emperor's first two wives were unable to bear him a child - but continued to be his wives.  They all lived in the Red Fort of Agra - which is across the River Yamuna.

After the Empresses death in 1631 it took 22 years and 20,000 workers to build the Taj Mahal and its associated building (Mosque, etc) and beautiful grounds.  The Shah died in 1666 - 35 years after the passing of his beloved wife.

The Shah planned to build a black marble replica of the Taj Mahal directly across the River Yamuna from the Taj Mahal where he wanted to be buried - but fate intervened.  Several of his children had died earlier.  His son Aurangzeb - had four of the Shah's male children killed, imprisoned the Shah is the Red Fort and took over the throne.  In the last years of his imprisonment the Shah somehow managed to have a gaze at the Taj Mahal, the building he had dedicated to his beautiful wife through the grill work of the prison.

The Taj Mahal is totally symmetric with each side exactly the same as the other three sides.  A Mosque was built on one side of the Taj Mahal and is still an operational Mosque to this day.  The other side of the Taj Mahal is an exact replica of the Mosque - but is a building that has never been used.

For those interested in seeing many more pictures of this incredible facility - please go to my Taj Mahal Photo Album.

Toward the end of these photos I reverted back to my appreciation of the incredible outfits that the women in India wear - what seems to me like another wonder of the world.  Many of the women look like they are dressed in outfits that would elegantly stand out at the grandest balls in the United States.
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