Grace, scale, power and beauty.
Walking through the entryway
to our first view of the Taj Mahal,
which means Crown Palace.
And you’ll walk across any territory,
and any darkness, however fluid,
and however dangerous to take
the one hand, and the one life
you know belongs in yours.
(from True Love, by David Whyte)
Sunrise framed by the mosque on the side of Taj Mahal.
  According to Islam, all tombs need to have an adjoining
 place of prayer.  The Taj Mahal is closed every Friday,
 the traditional holy day for Muslims to pray.

It took 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants 22 years
to complete the Taj Mahal.  Built on a river bank,
without solid ground, the architect started with a series
 of wells, which he filled with rock and mortar.  The
foundation of the Taj Mahal and its grand expanse of
 white marble is built on top of those rock wells,

a method still used today.     

Buddies on our Tauck tour group.  From all corners
of the US, we became good friends by the end
of our 12 day journey.  This is a good view of the

symmetry of the minarets, the four towers surrounding
the main tomb.  They appear straight, but actually
lean slightly outward.  In case of an earthquake,
they would fall outward, instead of inward, to 
avoid damaging the tomb.

The polished sandstone floor of the
 adjoining mosque is elegantly
 designed in the shape of clearly
 defined prayer mats.  The walls
 have delicate calligraphy quoting
the holy book of Qur’an. 

Just part of the jewel encrusted exterior, which includes
jade, crystal, lapis, carnelian, amethyst and turquoise. 
Shah Jahan, emperor of India during the dominant
Mughal empire, suffered deeply when his wife died
during the birth of their 14th child in 1631.

 tomb (on the right) is exactly in the center of the
 Taj Mahal.  He died 35 years later.  After
 building the Taj Mahal, he was overthrown by
 one of his sons, and spent his last eight years in
 captivity, with a remote view of the Taj Mahal
 from his prison window, 4 miles away from his love.
Closeup of the exquisite marble lattice inside the Taj Mahal.
“The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.”
– Rabindranath Tagore (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913)