Agra: Taj Mahal!

By Cubie - October 22, 2014

This basically sums it all - how can one NOT take a photo of this building?
The one building that determined the travel from Mumbai to up north. One of the world's most famous buildings - the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal commemorates both the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite queen. This garden-tomb cost nearly 41 million rupees and 500 kilos of gold, took around 20,000 workers laboured for almost 22 years to complete it in 1653.

As a foreign tourist, we paid for the highest entry fee at 750 Rs, so the shuttle fee to the entrance is included. We still had the soft spoken guide with us for this building. Not only he didn't help us to send the peddlers away like the one in Fatehpur Sikri did, he even conveyed messages from the peddlers to us. = ="

After entering the compound, we lingered a little in front of the Royal Gate to wait for our guide to get his pass.

Royal Gate

Once we met up with our guide again, we passed through the main gate and the majestic building was right in front of our eyes. That was when the first picture was taken.

The pool inside is named The Lotus Pool
The four minarets stood at each corner, at 40 metres high and crowned by a chhatri, framing the tomb. Did you realise that this building at perfect symmetry? In fact, this is a symmetry complex. Speaking of symmetry, it reminded me of the first Detective Conan movie - The Time Bombed Skyscraper where the architect character in the movie wanted to bomb all the non perfect symmetry buildings that he had designed. Anyway, I digressed.

Our jacked-up price ticket also included a pair of plastic bag to cover our shoes. Without the shoe covers, we are to remove our shoes before entering the tomb.

If this fully covered our shoes, I could wear it when I ride my motorbike on rainy days eh?
Entering Taj Mahal
Photography is prohibited inside of the tomb. So out of respect, I have not taken any. In the middle of the tomb building, Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph, raised on a platform, is placed next to Shah Jahan's. The actual graves, are closed to the public, lies in a dark crypt below. The interior of the building is dim, assuming to protect the interior decorations. There were decorative flowers, embedded with precious and semi-precious stones. Our guide requested one of the guards to shine his torchlight (with a fee) on one of the decorative flowers. The precious stones on the flowers lit up beautifully.

Taj Mahal mausoleum is flanked by two buildings, a mosque and a guesthouse (Mehmankhana).

We sat down and took time to enjoy the building during the sunset.

Then those photo taking started again. A little girl wanted to have her photo taken with me, according to her father. I hope it was really the girl wanting to have a photo with me instead of her father.. that would be scary. Anyway I obliged. Then a couple of Indian men wanted to have photo with us, I can just imagined our faces plastered over Facebook. = ="

After a few (or many more) photos, we finally left this absolutely stunning building. This mausoleum, is definitely worth the travel!

Side note: Addicted to chilli oil! Specifically dumplings in chilli oil.. yumm

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