Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the New Wonders of the World and this time we can say: "definitely"...  It is definitely worth seeing, it is definitely worthy of being called a wonder of the world, and we definitely recommend it.  One of the things that makes it unforgettable is the way it presents itself: It's not possible to see the Taj Mahal from outside the grounds, so you have to first enter the outer courtyard and walk along the wall in anticipation, until you reach a gate where the perfect symmetry of the Taj Mahal slowly reveals its splendour through the symmetrical arched gate.  We can still remember holding our breaths in anticipation, as we began to catch our first glimpses.  

Here are some quick facts: 
  • The Taj Mahal was built by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife (Mumtaz Mahal), who died in 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child. 
  • Around 20,000 people worked on the Taj Mahal.  It took about 8 years to finish the main temple, but the entire complex was not finish until 1653. 
  • The emperor was overthrown and imprisoned by his own son shortly after the mausoleum was completed.  After the emperor died, he was buried next to his wife in the Taj Mahal, thus breaking the prefect symmetry of the temple.
  • Today, the Taj Mahal has around 20,000 visitors per day.

Since we wanted to spend Diwali (India's biggest holiday, the "festival of lights") in a city called Jaipur, we had very limited time in Agra.  We only visited the Taj Mahal during sunrise (for about 3 hours), and although we did have enough time to explore it all, it definitely left us we wishing we had even more time to take it in. 

Back when we were in Delhi, we had pre-arranged for a driver (Rana) to pickup Guy (in Delhi), meet up with us in Agra, and now he'll be driving us around Rajasthan (the province Northwest of Delhi) for the next 2 weeks.