Seeing the Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. In July of 2019, I finally had the opportunity to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, up close. It is truly a sight to behold, even the best photographs can not capture the splendor of this place.
Contrary to common belief the Taj Mahal is NOT that close to Delhi, but a good 3 hours away. We booked a private tour with transport to Agra, Uttar Pradesh.. We were scheduled for pick up at 2:45AM, but because the driver got lost we left a bit later. While we ended up arriving after daybreak, it was not a problem as it was too overcast for a brilliant sunrise anyway. Even without the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, we were still elated because the early morning light enhanced the building's luminescence.
The first thing we saw when we approached the gates of the Taj Mahal was a little Rhesus Monkey staring down at us.
Notice the intricate white marble inlays in this red-sandstone building.
As we exited the Great Gate, which represents the passage between life on earth and spiritual life, we passed through the gardens and reflective pools towards the white marble domed mausoleum. The fountains in the reflective pool are known to be spectacular with a different type of beauty when the water is not running. The stillness provides a liquid mirror for the Taj Mahal’s reflection.
My friend Manisha sitting on the bench parallel to the Princess Diana seat and across from the spectacular Taj Mahal
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Next Stop - the Baby Taj Mahal
One of the sights that is definitely under-appreciated is the Baby Taj Mahal, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, located on the eastern bank of River Yamuna , Agra, Uttar Pradesh.. Thankfully for us that was the case because we had the opportunity to view this splendid architectural marvel without dealing with crowds.
Entrance to the Baby Taj Mahal which looks a lot like the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal. The baby Taj Mahal was erected between 1622 and 1628 and was used as a model for the Taj Mahal.
Detail of the beautiful marble building with parchin Kariinlay using cut and fitted, highly polished colored stones to create intricate mosaic designs in the white marble facade.
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