Sunday, October 30, 2011
The TAJ Mahal
I think that one of the most iconic visions of India for most people around the world is the Taj Mahal. We hear about it from the first time we enter school as little kindergartners learning about the world. It’s one of the 7 Wonders of the World!! For many, its something that will only be seen in pictures or online. However, through this wonderful Fellowship I am now a visitor to the glorious, magnificent, and amazingly awesome Taj Mahal!!!
Just to give some history, The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
I must say that there are no words that can express what I felt when going through the doors of the courtyard and then finally seeing the sight of the Taj. It is utterly…..I don’t even know what to say……but that its beautiful. Intricate, detailed, balanced, holy, loving, architecturally an awe inspiring vision. When you see it from afar after entering the courtyard, it almost looks ghostly on an early morning. At times it’s the same color as the sky. White but fades if there is fog. But as you move closer, and the Taj gets bigger and bigger, you just start to slow down and take it all in. How much he loved a woman to build this beautiful honor in her name. Wow. “The ultimate love story”, as someone mentioned to me after sharing my experience. At every couple of steps, you wanted to just stop and stare, take tons of pictures, stop then stare, then finally move on until you get to the next section of the courtyard that leads up to the Taj. I was glad to get there early. At about 8am the lines were already beginning to form at the beginning of the entrance.
One of the funny things about the Taj is that it is not really a large space inside. With all of that magnificence, in its basic definition it is a tomb that holds the bodies of both the King and Queen. You walk around a replica of their caskets and then are escorted through the other rooms which make up the columns on the outside that holds the big dome in place. A very basic internal design. BUT the DETAIL, MARBLE, DESIGN, INLAYS, PATTERNS, etc… OMG!!! I personally love Indian design. The filigree, patterns, and all of the many intricacies that make up the aesthetic of the building and temple art forms. It was a paradise to see. What an experience. I sat for a few hours and stared, imagined, and day dreamed about how I wish I could have my family and friends with me to share such an amazing sight. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity and blessing to say I was there.
Indian Temples and Mosques
Within India there tons and tons and tons of temples, mosques, tombs, mausoleums, etc. India is a holy Country wrapped up in the worship and benevolence of hundreds of gods, deities, kings, emperors, etc. In the public parks, within small towns, surrounding and scattered throughout large cities, temples abound with histories that are span the ages and almost all are beautifully and intricately designed in the same fashion as the gods and royalty of which of they honor. Since this week was Diwali, I did not have many meetings. Most Indians took vacation or had off due to the holiday. This gave me time to go sightseeing and getting a good grasp of my surroundings and the landscape of Delhi.
Within the last 4 days, I have probably visited, photographed, worshipped along with, and admired about 20 or so temples. All amazing and all different. Here are just a few pics of some of the cultural joys of India.
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