Taj Mahal, Agra, India by Devang Shrimali

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

If you can just go out with the heat these days, Agra can unbolt such beautiful doorways for you. I traced the ragged strokes of the touristy monument, with columns still standing tall after centuries, and I muse on how many chronicles can be found in the arcs if we only have the grace to politely ask these walls about the secrets they hide.

The exquisite marble structure in Agra, this colossal mausoleum is an enduring monument to love. The first sight of this white artistry was something I will never forget. The architects and craftsmen of the Taj Mahal were masters of proportions and tricks of the eye. On reaching the main gate that frames the Taj, the monument appears implausibly close and large. But once getting closer, it shrinks in size—exactly the reverse of what one would expect. One of the allures of the Taj Mahal is it's constantly hanging hue. From dawn to dusk, the sun transforms the mausoleum. It may seem pearly grey and pale pink at sunrise, dazzling white at high noon, and an orange-bronze when the sun sets. In the evenings, the Taj can appear translucent blue. These changes, they say, depict the various moods of a woman. I stood there, mesmerized and absolutely absorbed in own musings. The sunbeam frolicking games with my lens; the outset rays of the sun lightening the white marbles like none other.

Indeed, places like this warm your soul in a way I find difficult to describe. I shall quote Shams Tabrizi ― "Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water." Taj Mahal represents a live epitome of such love. Promise or no, Shah Jahan poured his passion and wealth into the creation of such a monument. Shah Jahan himself gazed upon that divine monument until the end of his days — but as a prisoner, not a ruler.

It would be enough to say that Taj has a life of its own that leaps out of marble. As an architectural masterpiece, nothing could be added or subtracted from it.