India – The Taj Mahal

Probably the number one attraction if you visit India is the famous Taj Mahal.  It’s a Taj Mahal in March 2004
World Heritage site, made of white marble, with other inviting places to lure a visitor:  pavilions, a mosque, and gardens.  Sometimes these areas are “fenced” off due to repairs etc., but one can still get a feeling for the wonderful gift from the emperor Shah Jahan to us, as he honored his beloved wife…well, his third wife, who died in childbirth.

It’s worth the trip up from the capital, although the bus ride is like fencing with danger.  A day trip will suffice, unless one is a major student regarding this 17th century tomb…started in 1632 and wasn’t completed until 1653.  It incorporates Persian and Mughal architecture, using red sandstone at first, then the white marble, with precious stones added to make the tomb almost sparkle.  A reflecting pool is also a major attraction, placed right in the center of the garden.  English rulers of India demanded that the site, which was falling into disrepair, be restored, but that ended up making it look a bit more “English” in spots than it had in the past.  But, because of lack of water, cracks are starting to appear.  It’s a certainty that the tomb will be repaired, but wanted to mention the cracks.  October and November are the best months to visit—avoiding the heat and dust of other months; February is not too bad.

You can rent a car, hire a taxi and driver, or ride the bus—all arrangements your hotel host can help you with—from New Delhi to the site and back.  It’s doable in one day…early departure is best, but one is at the mercy of the bus services.  Driving at night in India is discouraged.  Returning from the Taj late in the night was a serious eye-opener and closing for me.  But I’d not have missed seeing the beauty that is still there; the beauty of a man’s love for his wife—there to be viewed with respect, and a busily clicking camera.