The Taj Mahal is magnificent! I can see why it is one of the “seven wonders of the world.” It has a way of tricking the eye and it makes the world look so much brighter with all its marble. I only wish I had seen it in the morning when it’s not white but pink, oh well, maybe another time.
We got a tour guide because it seemed like the most practical thing to do and he was good. He kept all the pickpocketing kids away from us and yelled if they tried to get too close. He told us the story of the tomb and showed us little secrets about the mosaics. Did you know that on a full moon it costs 5000 rupees to enter instead of 750 rupees? No, well it does because apparently when a full moon shines on the Taj Mahal the jewels in the mosaic shine and give off red and green colors. The pillars are at a 1.5 meters angle away from the tomb in case of earthquakes. There are two buildings on either side of the tomb one is a mosque and the other a guest- house that are identical to each other. It was wonderful, and if I haven’t complained enough about the heat I will do it again. It was hot and I swear the marble made it hotter. The sun has never been so bright in my life, it was as if there were snow on the ground but 120 degrees, can you imagine that? It is a marvel!
After we left the Taj Mahal we had lunch in air conditioning (YAY!), and then proceeded to go to the next place, Red Fort. Ok, we generally do not leave the house during the hot hours of the day and a part of me wish we had taken a nap before Red Fort. I thought the Taj Mahal was hot until we reached the fort at 1230 pm with a fully belly. There was a point where my translators thought I needed sun block because my face was bright red, but no, I was just overheated. Red Fort is where the mogul family lived. It is also where his son imprisoned him when he spent too much money on a tomb for one of his beloved wives, the Taj Mahal. It was red, obviously, and had dance halls, libraries, and really fancy living quarters. Their sleeping spaces were all marble with fountains and views of the Taj Mahal as it was being built.
We also went to Akbar’s Tomb which is 19 km away from Agra. It was also red and held he and two of his wives. He built the tomb with 41 spaces for his whole family, but no one else ended being placed there. It was the last stop on our tour and at the end of it all I could think of is how much these people honored their dead. The tombs that were built are some of the most extravagant in the world and so grand. I could not wrap my head around why every tomb was so large. Ojasviba told me it was so Indians could visit them and pay their respects and never forget what great rulers they were; she said that if there is a large building more people are likely to remember them and visit. I guess she is right because I felt I couldn’t leave India without seeing the Taj Mahal. People come far and wide to see this woman’s tomb and marvel at its grandeur.