The Greatest Ode to Love, The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Our travels to New Delhi had us visiting the world famous Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of those locations in the world that every serious traveller has to go and visit at least once. During our visit, we were able to take in all the major features of the palace, and happened to enjoy our visit on a day that didn’t have all too many visitors.
This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Vietnam, Maldives and India. Round the World #3 in Star Alliance Business Class via Air Canada, Asiana, Singapore, Air India, Turkish Airlines Business Class
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Vancouver International
- Air Canada Business Class: Vancouver International – Seoul Incheon
- The Nest Hotel, A Member of Design Hotels, Seoul, Incheon
- Asiana Business Class Lounge: Seoul, Incheon
- Asiana Business Class: Seoul Incheon – Ho Chi Minh City
- The Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, Ho Chi Minh City
- The Sights and Sounds of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Restaurant Review: Nhà Hàng Ngon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
- Trading at Ben Thanh Market and Street Life in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Travelling the Mekong River. Travelling Ho Chi Minh City to Thù Thùa, Vietnam
- Travelling the Mekong River. The Canals of Thù Thùa, Vietnam
- Ho Chi Minh City Airport Lounge – Fin Bar
- Singapore Airlines Business Class: Ho Chi Minh City – Singapore
- Westin Singapore
- Shopping at Retail Giants on Orchard Road, Singapore
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge: Changi Airport Terminal 2
- Singapore Airlines Business Class: Singapore – Male
- Hotel Jen Maldives Malé by Shangri La, Malé, Maldives
- Street Life in Malé. A Day Walking the Republic’s Maldivian Capital
- Maldivian Moonmia Domestic Lounge, Malé Ibrahim Nasir Domestic
- Maldivan Airlines: Malé – Koodhoo
- Park Hyatt Maldives
- Circumnavigating Hadadaa Island, Maldives
- The Guided Back of House Tour, Park Hyatt Maldives
- Snorkelling the Park Hyatt Maldives House Reef
- Sunsets on Hadahaa Island, Hudavdoo Atoll, Maldives
- The Leeli Lounge – Male International Airport
- Air India: Male Thiruvananthapuram
- Air India: Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai
- Air India Maharajah Lounge: Chennai Madras International Airport
- Air India Business Class: Chennai – New Delhi
- The Leela Palace, New Delhi, India
- Jama Masjid, New Delhi
- Stepping into Chandi Chowk, New Delhi, India
- Overland Travel: New Delhi to Agra by BMW Luxury Sedan
- The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
- The Walled City of Agra, Agra, India
- Air India Maharajah Lounge, Indira Ghandi Domestic, New Delhi
- Air India: New Delhi – Jaipur
- The Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India
- Walking the Old City of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and City Palace, Jaipur
- A Day in the Footsteps of Royalty, Touring Amber Fort, Jaipur
- Air India: Jaipur – New Delhi
- ITC Muraya Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, New Delhi
- The Plaza Premium Lounge, Indira Ghandi International Airport, New Delhi
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: New Delhi – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk Business Lounge
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Montreal
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Montreal Domestic
- Air Canada Business Class: Montreal – Vancouver
The Greatest Ode to Love, The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
“The world’s greatest gesture at love that resulted in one of the world’s most iconic structures”
After our drive from New Delhi to Agra, on arrival to Agra, we picked up our local guide Ran at the Trident Hotel. We had our introductions and a quick washroom break after the 3 hour drive. We then traveled onward to East gate of the Taj Mahal. We had an airport styled security screening prior to entry.
About the Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Her death left the emperor so heart broken, he decided to build a memorial and mausoleum in her memory. Construction took about 22 years until his son Aurangzeb over threw him in 1658 and kept him imprisoned in the Agra Fort on the other side of town. He passed away in 1666 and was entombed next to his wife underneath the Taj Mahal.
Our visit started with the outer area of the entrance of the Taj Mahal. Of most interest with the outer area, we had a description of the inlaid calligraphy. The Islamic calligraphy was carved out of marble and inlaid in marble. Most interesting, the marble of the calligraphy was enlarged in size the higher up the sides of the arch way so that it would have an even and uniform appearance on the way up- despite the larger distance from the focal point.
The islamic calligraphy was quite impressive and would have taken months if not years to complete. The work was intricate and detailed.
Viewing the Taj Mahal:
We entered in the main Taj Mahal compound area. We were fortunate that we didn’t have a busy day. The Taj Mahal is a beautiful structure to look at. It’s unlike any other building in the world, set among a fabulous love story behind it’s creation. The grounds are set amongst Persian styled gardens. Of interest is that the minarets that grace each of the four corners are slightly angled to fall outwards in the event of an earthquake so that they won’t destroy the Taj Mahal itself. The raised position of the building means that the only backdrop of the Taj Mahal is the sky.
Despite it’s overall awesomeness, I was expecting a little bit more. I’ve been describing our visit as “similar to seeing the Effiel Tower in Paris for the second time”. You recognize it from every postcard and photograph and when you see it- there it is. The best thing to do is to notice the features of the attraction prior to visiting so you can appreciate the attraction’s nuances.
The Taj Mahal is said to feature intricate carvings that contain over 35 different precious and semi precious stones forming marble inlay work. The “peitra dura” is found on the inside and outside of the masoleum walls.
Like on our outer Taj Mahal visit, the calligraphy was in laid directly into the stone, making the construction of this palace all that more impressive.
We had a walk around the outside of the Taj Mahal structure, and eventually made it inside through the mausoleum. Photography is prohibited but I did sneak this photograph. The actual mausoleum is a level below so the one pictured here is supposedly a copy.
Another interesting feature of the Taj Mahal is of the red sandstone mosque on the West side of the Taj Mahal property. It’s made interesting as the designers built an identical empty mosque, the jawab that doesn’t face Mecca, on the oppsite side of the Taj Mahal for symmetry purposes.
Along with the identical copy on the East side that is empty.
Our entertaning tour guide asked that I take this photograph and post it to the Tourism India facebook page. He was frustrated that tourists (and guides) have to undergo an intensive security screening for every visit. Instead, this random dog is able to enter the Taj Mahal, likely unchallenged. He thought that this might embarrass the Indian government into actually providing proper security.
MrsWT73 continued her popularity streak by posing for more photographs with all whom would ask.
We took a final look at the Taj Mahal adjacent to the courtyards before we left.
My thoughts on seeing The Taj Mahal:
The opportunity to see the Taj Mahal is a once in a lifetime experience. Similar to seeing other landmark tourist attractions, it was a little underwhelming at first, after you’d travelled all the way in order to see it. Having spent some time enjoying the Taj Mahal, and understanding its unique features, it allowed us a greater appreciation of the site. Looking back on the day, I really enjoyed the memory of our visit and was happy we made the long worldwide trip to see one of the greatest testaments to love that exist in modern history.