India: Taj Mahal - The Symbol of Eternal Love | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Dec 1, 2014

India: Taj Mahal - The Symbol of Eternal Love

The weather was unpredictable when we arrived in Agra. Rain clouds loomed over some areas, but we managed to explore Agra Fort without a drop of rain. The weather app reminded me of my history as a travel jinx when it indicated a huge percentage of rainfall in the afternoon. When things like this happen, I usually just shrug and laugh at myself and my misadventures. But on that day, being a jinx was plainly tragic! 

We were scheduled to visit an extraordinary monument, a Wonder of the World, India's crown jewel: the Taj Mahal. I longed to see it gloriously dazzling under the sun. I planned to sit in one of the benches just like Princess Diana. I wanted to celebrate love and walk with my husband hand in hand at the sprawling garden. 

Rain is the natural phenomenon that I never needed on that day!   

the majestic Taj Mahal
The Majestic Taj Mahal

Right after our visit at Agra Fort, we had a quick lunch and headed to Taj Mahal's ticket office. We initially planned to catch the sunset, but upon knowing that it may rain, we decided to go inside the complex while the sun is still up.

Since we purchased the composite ticket at Agra Fort, we were only there to pick up our shoe covers and free bottled water. Battery buses and golf carts transport visitors from the ticket office to the main gate as polluting vehicles are not allowed to go near Taj Mahal,  We never had to wait for the bus though as our travel agency arranged a one-way Tonga ride for us. Tonga is similar to the Philippine Kalesa.

Tonga ride in Taj Mahal
Tonga ride from the ticket office to Taj Mahal's gate
colorful tonga in Taj Mahal
the colorful tonga aka kalesa in the Philippines

Our Tonga ride ended near the souvenir stalls. As much as I wanted to have a quiet and memorable stroll towards the gate of a world-famous monument, it was not possible. We were constantly approached by tour guides and salesmen, and I had to give a firm NO to each encounter. If only I knew it would happen, I could have placed a placard with a "Do not disturb!" sign around my neck! 

souvenir stalls in Taj Mahal
souvenir stalls near the entrance gate of the Taj Mahal complex

After a short walk, we reached the security gate and the ticket collection counter. Security check was a breeze as our tour driver gave us an ample information on the do's and don'ts before our visit. Here are the basic traveler's items which are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal complex

* tripod and monopod 
* writing materials and books
* electric goods: head phones, power bank, extra battery

So, only the vital things were left inside my bag; passport, wallet, phone, Taj Mahal ticket.

Taj Mahal complex security check gate
We passed through the security check smoothly!

A huge crowd of visitors moved towards the Great Gate and we went with the flow. And while beneath the gate, I was caught off-guard. Beyond the darkness of the entrance arch was the Taj Mahal shining in all its glory! It appeared like a mirage over the horizon that magically turned into something real as we moved a step closer. 

It was an EPIC moment that I could hardly describe until this very day! It gave me goosebumps and shivers, made me speechless, and turned everything into slow motion. When I went back to my senses, I realized that I actually forgot to take some photos. So, Ed and I had to go back and walk against the crowd to capture Taj Mahal's welcoming splendor.    

gateway to the Taj Mahal
The Great Gate: gateway to the Taj Mahal
the Taj Mahal in all its glory
the Taj Mahal in all its glory 
Taj Mahal in India
Wow! Just WOW!

After reliving the epic moment, I found my friends doing the classic Taj Mahal pose. Of course, I must do it as well! Even if it is the most cliched travel pose and I don't care! Hah! :)

We walked in the slowest possible pace and took nearly a hundred photos before we reached the mausoleum itself. It's just the right thing to do when you have a Wonder of the World right before your very eyes! It is certainly the most beautiful building in the world!

Taj Mahal travel pose
Here I am doing the most cliched travel pose at the Taj Mahal! Heheh! :)
most romantic spot in India
Us at the most romantic spot in India

Ed and Lady at The Taj Mahal
Nothing is too cheesy when you're at the Taj Mahal! 

And suddenly, what I was hoping not to happen happened! It rained!

My first taste of rain in India is in the presence of Taj Mahal. How memorable! Drenched in rain, we sought refuge in a mosque nearby. While staring at the gloomy sky and endless downpour, I was worried that my Taj Mahal experience will be over right then and there.

rain at Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal under the rain

But after a few minutes, a rainbow appeared and the sun broke through the cloudy gray sky. We took it as a sign to move closer to entrance of the mausoleum. 

At the foot of the Taj Mahal, we noticed that the building is not just made of plain white marble. It is finely decorated with semiprecious stones! Stunning! We put on our shoe covers, turned off our cameras and quietly went inside. Within the radiant marble monument is a chamber that encapsulates everlasting love! Naturally lighted in the dark are the tombs of Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal

Before I head to the exit, the legendary love story behind the popular monument lingered in my mind. The Taj Mahal is Shah Jahan's promise to his favorite wife who died during the birth of their 14th child. He was grief-stricken, so he built the most beautiful and the richest mausoleum over her grave. 

Indeed, the power of love can do amazing things!  ;)

the most beautiful mausoleum ever built
the most beautiful mausoleum ever built
shoe cover at the Taj Mahalentrance of the Taj Mahal mausoleum

the beautiful Taj Mahal
Such a beauty!

Although there was no epic sunset experience for us due to the thick clouds, our visit was still everything I hoped for! Yes, I was able to do everything on my checklist, with a bonus of witnessing Taj Mahal's mystic under the rain. :) 

sprawling garden at the Taj Mahal complex
sprawling garden at the Taj Mahal complex
Taj Mahal wonder of the world
Truly a Wonder of the World!

Entrance Fee: 750 rupees

Taj Mahal
Agra, Uttar Pradesh

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