By: Mitchell Petit-Frere
When you visit the Taj Mahal, your first glimpse of the structure is framed through an archway that you have to walk through in order to make your way into the complex where the tomb is located. I kid you not, as I caught my first glimpses of the Taj, I got goosebumps on my neck and shoulders.
On our drive to the Taj, our tour guide told us numerous times that pictures don’t do it justice. And he was absolutely right. I don’t think I’ve ever physically seen anything more awe-inspiring in my life. There’s not a better way to describe it than perfect. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I realized how [initially] underwhelming the interior of the Taj is.
For starters, it’s much smaller than what you expect after seeing the exterior. The reason being because you can only occupy an octagon of surface area located directly in the middle of the structure. Everything else is closed off and/or empty space.
Nevertheless, there was something mystical about being inside. It might have been because we went during the evening and it was very dark inside, which added a bit of spirituality to our trek around the interior. It might have also been because our tour guide used a flashlight app on his smartphone to illuminate the different carvings on the walls so we could clearly see what we were touching.
I remember of sense of awe coming over me as I glided my fingers across the marble carvings, trying to contemplate how such exquisite work was created some 400 years ago — not to mention how perfectly intake it has remained.
Alexa said something along the lines of “Can you believe we just touched something from the 17th century!?” And she was right. It was mind-boggling that we were connecting with a period in history that is almost impossible to conceptualize because of how long ago it was.
There’s not many famous monuments that fully live up to their respective hype. The Taj definitely does.