A Visit to the Taj Mahal
A visit to Agra cannot be called complete unless one sees the Taj – ‘the Crown of the World’. This peerless tomb was built by Shah Jahan after the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, as a token of his great love for her. It is said that it took twenty-two years to build the Taj, and that twenty thousand men together were employed at one time to construct it.
The Taj Mahal is surrounded by a beautiful garden. In it, tall dark cypress trees grow along the straight walks and there are fountains in some places. It has many smooth green lawns and many beds of glowing flowers. All these add to the beauty of the Taj.
The Taj itself stands on the bank of the river Yamuna. It is made of white marble. It has four, tall, slender, white marble minarets, one in each corner of the platform around it, on which the great tomb stands. And when you go closer you will find, how large and magnificent it really is.
The real tomb is in a vault beneath the building, and the way to it is led by a flight of steps. It is all decorated with precious stones and beautiful screens of carved marble which makes it look like a jeweler’s delicate work in silver. There in front of us, is the grave of the beloved queen of Shah Jahan, whose love was so great that he built this wonderful and world-famous tomb for her at an enormous cost.
It is delightful to see the Taj at any time of the day. But it is most wonderful to see it in the light of the full moon. At that time, it looks like a building of pearl, or a palace made of silver. The gleaming white marble, the black shadows, the dim light, the silence, and the sweet scented gardens, all make it a wonderful sight to see.
One is carried away by the remembrance that twenty thousand workmen were employed for twenty-two years to construct it and that it cost three crore of rupees; and the gems and precious stones were brought as camelloads from all parts of the world to furnish the inlayers with the material; seeing all this, you will be lost in admiration at the glorious beauty of the Taj. Surely, man never made such a paradise! It cannot be a building, it is an enchantment. It is a dream curved of marble.