Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
90Trip End Aug 14, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I tried the old disability discount ploy which had worked at many monuments & museums but it didn't work here, they want their expensive (£10.00) entrance fee.
As the sun came up, the marble seemed to glow (it is actually translucent) & as the sun got higher the Taj Mahal changed colour from cream to brilliant white. The mausoleum is huge with every marble surface carved or inlaid with semi-precious stones. The huge platform is also paved with white marble.
Inside the octagonal centre is even more elaborately decorated with more inlays. You are not supposed to take photos in there, but I must have accidently pressed the button & got some lucky shots. Ironically, the only non-symmetric part of the whole monument is poor old Shah Jahan’s tomb which is placed to one side of his wife’s central tomb. Had he been alive when he died I’m sure he would have done it better.
The Taj Mahal took 20,000 men 22 years to build & was finished just 10 years before Shah Jahan himself died. It almost bankrupted the state.
Legend has it that he died of a broken heart looking at the Taj Mahal across the river from his palace. The truth is that he died of an opium & aphrodisiac overdose during a sex orgy at the age of 74 (that’s my boy !)
Next to the palace is a large complex where the rulers kept their harem. King Akbar had 3,000 concubines – this makes pop-stars seem like saints.
At the corner of the palace is the private mosque that Shah Jahan used when imprisoned & near there is a vantage point giving a splendid view of the Taj Mahal.
They showed us the two processes in making inlays; forming each intricate stone on an abrasive wheel & carving the marble to take the inlays. These skills are kept in the family by not allowing any worker to learn both skills & they won’t teach the women because they will marry into another family & take the expertise with them.