If you call yourself a traveler, someone who likes to glide across lands while glancing back at its history, you have perhaps heard of the Taj Mahal. I cannot imagine someone not knowing about that wonder of the world. So when I was in the capital city of India, just hours away from the place where the so called mausoleum of love (sarcasm *cough cough*) was, how could I subdue the temptation of getting a glimpse of it myself?
I had obviously heard a lot about it, some myths attached to it, some local lores and what not. From those that had already seen it, some said the monument was over-hyped, while others swore it was every bit the wonder it was called. Getting to Agra, the lovely, dusty, polluted city was not very difficult by car. The highway is actually pretty awesome and damn smooth, the toll amount they collect might be a bother for some.
Anyway, the big mistake was to go to that historic town on a Saturday, the way to the lovely Taj Mahal was packed with cars and buses. When we managed to pass through that traffic and park our car, another monumental challenge lay in front of us – buying the ticket in the blistering heat, with over hundred people standing in line for their turn to purchase the ticket. While those with me, chose to get themselves some shelter under the shade of the trees around, I was given the task to burn my skin to watch the white marble. While I waited patiently, some of the rude tourists tried to jump the line and get their tickets before those already waiting. Now I am not the sorts who picks up a fight, but I was in a good mind to reprimand them, and before I could say something the security guards told them to get back in line. I was very glad. After thirty minutes of sweat and despair, it was finally my turn. Nothing untoward happened then, I got my tickets. But well, it was not going to be that easy to see that lovely white piece of architecture yet – there was a bigger ass line to get inside the premises of Taj! *oh no!*
And while we thought maybe we could try the jumping the line technique, a cop randomly told us that there was another gate from where we could enter the Taj. We followed the direction to where his hands pointed at and decided to find the other gate
After some more walking, frisking, and added sweat beeds, we finally got a glimpse of this beauty. Now thanks to my bad camera phone, I do not have a breathtaking shot, but that lovely mausoleum is actually pretty surreal from afar. I stared at it like a dog for some time and exclaimed “wow” a couple of times.
Soon we were assaulted by a few photographers who promised they would take beautiful pictures of ours with the Taj in the backdrop. So thanks to all our bad cameras again, we gave in to the temptation of being idiotic tourists who let the local photographers take them for a ride. The pictures were just about okay. They made you wish you looked better, so that you did not look like a tanned clown before that piece of wonder.
The sun raged on, and we decided to go touch the white marble and do a little tour of the place. Soon, we thought, we had enough of that “Mughal piece of conceit”. Two people from my group kept saying “that bastard wasted people’s money”. I actually heard a lot of people over there cursing the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who had it constructed in memory of his deceased third wife.
As far as I am concerned, I loved what I saw. And as far as the emperor is concerned, well the guy had the money to squander and he did. India got its wonder. So my verdict on Taj Mahal is – it is indeed a masterpiece!