A friend of mine visited the Taj Mahal very early in the morning before the hordes of tourists arrived for the day. The sun was just coming up. Apparently it was the most extraordinary experience, the light was soft and the sky was pink, and she said the Taj looked like a vision or a dream, seeming to float above the water in the dawn light.
It is such a carefully planned building, everything is balanced and organized to achieve perfect symmetry. It is exactly the same height as it is wide, and the height of its massive central dome is the same as the façade, which makes it so pleasing and satisfying to look at. It is made of vast quantities of cream coloured marble so thin and painstakingly constructed, that in places they almost appear translucent. The walls, floor, and gateway to the gardens are meticulously carved and decorated by millions of flourishes: excerpts from the Qu’ran and Islamic texts, all heightening the aura of devotion and solemnity which surrounds the building.
The building was ordered to be constructed by Shah Jahan (who ruled from 1628 – 1658) as a memorial to his favourite and most beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Jahan himself must have liked the look of the place as well, as he was also eventually buried there. Understandable really.