Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 8, 2012

Wonders of the World

There are many must-see sights in the world.  Temples are nice, cathedrals are beautiful, palaces are impressive, but after seeing 50 it takes something special for the 51st to really take your breath away.  I still appreciate architecture and beautiful things man has built, but the more one travels, the more discriminating one’s taste becomes.  On top of that, it’s even harder to get excited about a place when your expectations have been built up.

Still, visiting Northern India and not seeing the Taj Mahal would be unthinkable.  Love, a native to Agra, and group of his friends came with me.     The Taj was worth seeing more than just once, they told me.

As we approached the gate we saw the ticket prices: 20 rupees for Indian citizens.  750 rupees for foreigners.  $15 may not sound like a lot, but when you put it in India terms, that you could stay 3 nights in a (admittedly inexpensive) guest house for that much, or get 3 overnight journeys in sleeper cars on the train, then 750 rupees seemed like a fortune!

Before I even had time to balk, Love and his tour guide friends were busy finding a way around the exorbitant ticket price.  “Don’t worry,” he reassured me, and had me stand to one side of the roped-off ticket lines.

5 minutes later he returned with a ticket for me.  I guess it pays to know the right people.

I stopped in mid-step; a sense of wonder squeezing my heart as the Taj Mahal came into view.  The luminescent marble domes practically glowed.  Eyes wide, to take as much as I could in, I gazed in awe.  Even with all the glowing endorsements of its beauty, the massive amounts of flat photographs, and the film clips, there was something about it that eludes capture.  Even in the sea of tourists, there was a profound sense of peace, awe, and wonder about the building that is best be described as holy.

The Moghul emperor Shah Jahan had built it as a memorial for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal and her tomb rivals even the pyramids.  How humans could construct this masterpiece of symmetry in architecture in the 15th century is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

In a place like this even the tourists can be sights in and of themselves.    The Taj is a place for royalty, and I was lucky enough to see a Rajisthani princess while visiting, at least that’s what my Indian friends told me.  Whether or not it is true, the Indian women dressed in their brightly-colored best saris only brighten the atmosphere.

I had gone into the monument a skeptic, sure that an hour would be more than enough to see another “wonder” of the world and was made a believer.  Watching the light play on the translucent marble structure, changing its color throughout the day is mesmerizing.  But the stunning grace of the structure’s curves and imposing presence are just the beginning.  The building’s interior with its intricate carvings and stunning inlays renders one speechless.  The love and respect the emperor surely felt for his beloved wife are

Sadly photography is not permitted in the mausoleum itselt.   The  perfect dimensions of the building, ornate tombs of the emperor and empress, and stunning workmanship that challenge even the beauty of the building’s famed exterior will have to wait for your visit to Agra .

There are many must-see sights in the world, but few that deserve the title “wonder.”  Arguably only 7.  The Taj unquestionably one of these.  Even the dense crowds of tourists can’t lessen the monument’s majesty.


  1. Strange that the Taj is one of a kind. Greeks built lots of temples, Egyptians a few big pyramids, Medievals many cathedrals. A hard act to follow?

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