Indian Jewel, The Taj Mahal. Why you should visit.

Taj Mahal

There is something about the moment before dawn; for some, it can be the fear of another day, for others it is a moment of waking excitedly wondering what the day will bring; for me on this particular morning it was excited anticipation.

I had wearily risen at 4am and taken a specially prepared early breakfast at the hotel, I must say I’m not at my best at that time of the morning, but there was no time for the extra coffee; we had to be on the coach and set off.

I’m not going to bore you with facts and figures here you can find any amount of them on Wikipedia or any travel page, this is just my experience.

The city was just waking too and the noise was already deafening, like some sort of bedlam competition. It was already quite warm and the clear sky was not yet out of its nightdress. In India it is normal to beep your horn at every opportunity, there are the bellowing horns of Tata trucks and peep peep of cars and last but not least is the strangled sound of the mopeds, tut tuts and scooters that buzz like hornets through the streets.

new shoes please
new shoes please | Source

Progress through Agra day or night is always slow, but the streets are so fascinating that the journey is an education in itself. We stopped at some traffic lights, where a Brahma bull stood patiently waiting to cross the road, when the lights changed it meandered across the road to lay on a traffic island , totally at home in the surrounding mayhem.

At the next set of lights, sat a cross legged vendor with a pile of hides beside him. in the time it took to change the lights, a chap walked up to the vendor and stood onto a piece of hide. The vendor then cut around the man’s feet, added some straps and made him a pair of flip flop type sandals; as we moved on so did the customer with his new shoes.

At last we reached our destination and the anticipation was thumping in my chest, it was like going on your date. The coach pulled in with countless other vehicles and we fought our way through the crowd to try and get the best place as soon as the mausoleum grounds within the red fort were opened.

Taj Mahal

the famous gateway to the Taj
the famous gateway to the Taj | Source

We waited patiently amongst the throng, tourists from every nation on earth and perhaps some from other planets too, because what we were about to witness would be worth crossing the universe to see.

The sun slowly inched its way over the outer walls of the mausoleum and we were treated to a sight that could make you cry, and I felt the emotion in my chest and throat as the dome of the Taj Mahal suddenly seemed to come alight. There was a spontaneous burst of oohs, ahhs and applause as now the sun bathed the buildings. It was a special moment. I have said that the great thing about the Taj is it looks like its photos, so many places I’ve been and been disappointed because the pictures of it are far better the place.

The mystery and romance of the Taj
The mystery and romance of the Taj | Source

Unfortunately many of the pictures I took were hazy, it was very hot and dusty and this was before digital so I had to wait until I was back in England to see the results. I don’t mind, my memories are as sharp as the day I went.

Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan wrote these words.

Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory.

Of course the story of the Taj is not a very happy one in many ways; it was built as an act of love by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal who sadly died giving birth to his fourteenth child.

It was not a happy day for the 22 thousand workers and scores of architects who worked on it, because to make sure that another building could not be made the same, the workers had their hands cut off and the architects were blinded.

our group of tourists
our group of tourists | Source
YOu have to be kissed here
YOu have to be kissed here | Source

You may not realise that there are other mausoleums near and next to the Taj.

The whole site is on the banks of the river Yamuna, which runs through the city of Agra.

It is a place I would say needs to be on everyone’s must visit list, because there are few manmade objects that can rival the beauty and wonders of the natural world, but this does. Its perfect symmetry and form is like a snowflake; breathtaking to say the least.

If you don’t agree, you have never been; because once you have seen it, you will never forget it.

The Romantic Bit

It did end romantically for us, a young Swedish chap got down on his knee and proposed to his girlfriend; I do hope they are still happily together.

Guilty of Honour
Guilty of Honour

Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.

Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.

A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.

Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.

When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.


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Comments 22 comments

diogenes 4 years ago

I enjoy first person hubs like this as they have an air of authenticity which researched work often looses.

I don't expect I will ever get there to what must be the best known and perhaps most bewitching building on the planet.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


many thanks for your comment. Maybe one day, but if not there are some really photos on the internet.

I always try to write in a friendly way and hope people feel that we are already friends.

cheers Tony

writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great informative hub, Tony. I have a picture of my Father standing in of the Taj Mahal in the 1930's when he was in the British Army. Voted up and interesting.

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


many thanks for taking a look and for the votes. I intend to write more about my travels as people do seem interested.

Do you know your fathers regiment, because my grandma's father and brothers all served out there.

It was a wonderful experience, we also went back at sunset.



lalu 4 years ago

good fantastic

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


thank you for the comment, maybe you have been, if not try and see this wonderful place.


Rajeev Shukla profile image

Rajeev Shukla 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hi Tony

When did you visit the Taj.Are you still in India.It is an excellently written account as usual in your case.Did you engage a guide.They can tell you good stories and anecdotes.Also no hands were cut or eyes blinded.It was just an agreement that the workers would not build or design another Taj and for that they were renumerated much more than handsomely.Committing not to work with their hands is as good as losing them for artisans.

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


many thanks for the comment, to answer your questions I visited the Taj in 1994, so you can see how impressed I was with its wonders. We did have a guide and it was he who told me of the severing of hands and blinding of architects,perhaps one shouldn't believe everything one is told.

No I am living back in England now, but I am hoping to visit India again very soon. It is a wonderful place as a tourist, I'm sure the realities of life there are very different.



Rajeev Shukla profile image

Rajeev Shukla 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Pls do get in touch with me when you come New Delhi.I would like to know more about your experiences on the Russian river cruise and more.

Thks Rgds]

Rajeev Shukla

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


I am writing a hub about the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, but it is slow at the moment.

I'll give you a bell if we are heading for New Delhi again.



livingpah2004 profile image

livingpah2004 4 years ago from USA

Good to know that you went to see Tajmahal. You have described it well. I visited there recently in 2007. Great Hub!

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


Thank you for the comment. It was a wonderful experience one I would love to repeat.



carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

Great hub with gorgeous photos. I always wanted to go to Taj Mahal. Love the story behind it. Thank you for sharing your experience.

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

many thanks for reading this hub, I'm glad you enjoyed it, I certainly enjoyed putting the hub together, because it brought back wonderful memories.

cheers Tony

stessily 4 years ago

Tony, I love your descriptions of India. I picked up my "honking habit" in Brazil and refined it in India. I've never forgotten being awakened in Hyderabad to the sound of the call to prayer, so beautiful while the city was still slumbering. I don't know why I didn't visit the Taj; I've loved it since childhood, when my mother gave me a lesson in perspective by having me draw that incomparably beautiful monument.

Your photos are beautiful. One of my favourites is the one which you've captioned: "already the heat haze spoils the shot." For me, the shot is spectacular, with the Taj clearly discernible against an ethereal, almost mystical backdrop of mist.

As with you, I hope that the Swedish chap's proposal at the Taj has continued as a happy marriage of everlasting love!

Proper champion, lad!

Kind regards, Stessily

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


you say the nicest things, thank you for your generous comments.

did you listen to the music, that percussion sound sums up India for me.

How long ago did you visitIndia? was it a holiday?

Brazil too another place I would love to go.

The Taj's lines and proportions are perfect, I've used it in my classes as a lesson in perspective. My mother's family are an old Raj family and I grew up with tales of India, Kiplin was a friend of my g-grandfather.

Read his book 'Kim', not an easy read, but an insight into the ways of India.



Derdriu 4 years ago

Tony, What an enchanting, enthralling, entrancing tribute to Taj Mahal! In particular, I like the way you get reader attention by describing the early morning hours as emotion-laden by the perspective of the awakener: so true, so true! Additionally, I appreciate the cultural and historical notes as well as the "pretty pictures."

It's understandable that Shah Jahan would speak of sorrowful sighs, in the context of the fates of his dead wife and of those who produced such a glorious architectural masterpiece.

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all.

Respectfully, Derdriu

P.S. The videos are most effective in establishing atmosphere and mood to convey the sense of the place.

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu, thank you for your kind and meaningful comments. I'm delighted that you took time to read another of my hubs. proper champion I'd say.

regards Tony

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Tony, I'm certainly glad you enjoyed your visit to the Taj. The photos are breathtakingly beautiful.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Voted up & interesting.

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author


thank you for your visit and votes.

I would like to go back some day.

with respect


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France

Great hub on the Taj Mahal - it's well worth the heat and dust and effort!

tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 3 years ago from Yorkshire Author


thank you for your visit and comment.



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