When we think of India and traveling to India, the Taj Mahal comes to mind. For help, we have our guest writers and friends, Surya (13) and his mom Sowmya to share their knowledge and experience visiting the Taj Mahal and the country they visit often and once called home. Come on a journey with us to the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal, India
By Surya and Sowmya Balaji
If given the chance to visit an architectural marvel anywhere in the world, you have many choices.
You could choose the Great Wall of China, a symbol of the Ming Dynasty, and is the only man-made structure to be seen from space. You could also choose the Eiffel Tower, which stands over Paris, representing French Architecture. But what about the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, and equates with all of these other marvels of engineering.
It also happens to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. For over 4 centuries, it has stood as a masterpiece of Mughal Architecture, and also as a symbol signifying the “Love Story” of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, who ruled the Northeastern part of India.
The construction of this architectural marvel began in 1632, when Mumtaz Mahal died shortly after the birth of their 14th child. Shah Jahan then undertook the task of erecting the world's most beautiful monument in the memory of his beloved.
After 22 years and the labor of over 20,000 workers, the tomb was complete. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed in a tomb next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah insisted that the Taj should be built with marble, which was unlike many of the other monuments around it, which were built using red sandstone.
The Mahal was constructed on the banks of the serene Yamuna River. During the time the Taj was being built, Shah Jahan’s son Aurungzeb dethroned his father and took the kingdom into his own hands. Shah was held prisoner at the nearby Red Fort. His cell had a perfect view of the Mahal, but Shah never lived to see the completion of the Taj Mahal.
It is rumored that Shah Jahan cut the hands off of the certain builders so that they could never be able to make a replica of the Taj.
Mark Twain once said, “The world is divided into two types of people, those who have seen Taj Mahal and those who have not”. Taj is celebrated as one of the most beautiful and marvelous buildings of the world. It is a structure of geometric perfection.
The design of Taj was inspired by various other Mogul architectures. Humayun’s tomb has a dome topped structure raised on a high platform which is similar to Taj. Akbar’s tomb was the inspiration for four pillar design. Even though it is called as the marvel of Mogul architecture, it does have a touch of Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture.
My experience with the Taj was unlike any other. In 2006, during a typical Indian Summer Day (very hot 108 degrees Fahrenheit), my family left New Delhi and travelled 130 miles from Delhi, to Agra, the city that was the center of the Mughal Empire in India.
A visit to the Taj is truly an amazing experience. Though it is a huge building, you don’t see Taj anywhere from the place where you park the car or on your walk towards Taj.
As you continue walking to the Taj, there it is. The majestic Taj Mahal, reflecting on the pool and merging with the garden to create a tranquil environment. One has to make a visit to experience the beauty of this place.
Truly it deserves to be one of the wonders of the world. Unfortunately the Taj’s original beauty has not been maintained due to political interference and other socio-economic reasons.
Today when you visit the Taj, you will be able to see a layer of dust covering the marbles. Taj’s architecture and the attention toward details are incomparable to no other monument or landmark in this world.
Best time to visit: October to March.
Best time to visit: October to March.
Mode of travel: Travel to Delhi, the capital city of India, which is connected to all the major metros of the world. Drive from Delhi to Agra is approximately 3 hours.
P.S.--I visited the Taj when I was very young; so many memories were recollected with my mother’s help. I also used the Internet to find more facts and clarify ones that I already knew. I would also like to thank Mrs. Claudia Looi for giving me the splendid opportunity to blog--
Have you been to Taj Mahal or any of the seven wonders of the world? How was your experience? Please leave us a comment.
Sowmya Balaji was born and raised in India, a mother of a teenager (Surya) and wife of a wonderful person. She is a stay at home mom who loves cooking, reading, music and traveling. Surya Balaji is a talented 8th grader who has recently started a blog. He loves traveling, music, Geography and Engineering. Currently, they call Florida home.