“Meri quabar par eisa maqbara banaiye jo sabko meri yaad dilaye” – Once the beloved wife of famous Mughal emperor Shah-Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal told this to the emperor on her death bed.
Back in the year 1998, I was standing at the gate of one of the seven wonders of the modern world- Taj Mahal. That was 16th of October, our clock was announcing 12 noon, and the white marble wonder was shining brightly in the sunlight in front of us.
I was listening to our guide. He was telling the history of this famous tomb – after the death of his third and most beloved wife Mumtaz, Shah-Jahan was grief-stricken. He then decided to create a special tomb for his loving wife…. Slowly his sounds faded away. I was spellbound by the beauty of Taj Mahal. My father was beside me. Suddenly I heard his voice, “let’s move forward”. Oh! I was so hypnotized that I forget to move; the rest of our team members were already on their way to the main building. Many people were trying some experimental photography; however, I don’t like them personally.
After recovering my senses, I looked at the surrounding. The large space was bounded by beautiful and well-maintained Mughal Garden. The garden was covered with asphalts and fountains which are a specialty of the Mughal era. The design of the garden was inspired by Persian Gardens. At the center of the garden, there was a large pool filled with clear water and a stunning fountain in the middle of it. There were pavements on both sides of the pool and we were moving through that walkway. The image of the gorgeous Taj Mahal was reflecting in the pool.
Though that was the middle of October, but still the outside was hot and humid. We were traveling by bus and in spite of the rich architecture of Agra; I was not in a position to enjoy its glory because of the temperature. As soon as I stepped on the floor of Taj Mahal; I was surprised by the sudden change in temperature. The stone floors were so cool that it was like a coat of soothing balms on our soul.
It took almost 22 years to finish the tomb with the help of thousands of workers and numerous specialists on the southern bank of river Yamuna.
Shah Jahan hired all the masters’ architects, craftsman of his time to build this tomb. He hired them from faraway lands like Persia, Baluchistan and many more.
Every inch of this famous tomb is a measure of perfection. The floral designs on the marble, the plant motif, and the carved paintings on the roof-top all depict the ultimate height of artistry and craftsmanship. Silently, the famous architecture also tells a royal love story. Every corner of it shows the love of Shah Jahan for his wife.
It was a well-known fact that after a few years of the completion of Taj Mahal, the Mughal throne was captured by the second son of Shah Jahan, Aurangjeb. Shah Jahan was house arrested in the fort of Agra. There was a legend that the ex-emperor used to view Taj from his room and recalled the memory of his loving wife in his last days.
We took some rest in the cold courtyard of Taj Mahal. The comforting October breeze efficiently removed all our traveling stresses.
I was wondering what I can say about this place. Is it an architectural wonder showing the glory of our rich culture? Or is it a place showing the pride of a rich Mughal Baadshah? Or is it a place that depicts the love of a wealthy husband for his loving wife? Whatever it is, it surely cast a spell on me, offering me a lifetime experience.