The World's Most Beautiful Building
OK, here is the ultimate no-brainer. I am writing a tip for my Agra, India page. Have you ever heard of the Taj Mahal?
Seriously, the Taj Mahal has long been considered one of the wonders of the world, perhaps the world's most beautiful building. My wife had, for almost her entire life, dreamed of seeing it in person. Needless to say, the personal buildup for us before our visit was intense, and the expectations were astronomically high. AND.... the magnificent Taj exceeded our wildest dreams ten-fold. I simply cannot tell you the feeling, the sense of awe and peace that comes over you when you first see the Taj Mahal.
OK, a few words about the Taj... no need to write its entire history and background here. There are scads of well-written journals to cover all of that. Suffice to say that it's the final resting place for Queen Mumtaz, the favorite wife of the great Shah Jahan. Her death in the 17th century left him with the proverbial and lasting broken heart. He threw his sorrow into the construction of the perfect symbol of his love for her, a building of such beauty and symmetrical perfection as to astound all visitors from the moment it was constructed. NOTHING at the Taj was shortcut, every artistic step of quality was taken. From the top quality marble, to the inlaid floral and Koranic verses done through the edifice in various precious and semi-precious stones, and even to the four towers surrounding the main Taj being angled out in such a way as to protect his Queen's tomb in the event of an earthquake, it's a building of reverence, majesty and perfection. If you are not impressed and moved to a moment of silence, you have no soul. :)
Not surprisingly, we shot quite a few photos during our two visits to the Taj. I wanted to share as many as possible, so you will find additional tips on the Taj entitled "Lifting the Veil, the Morning Taj" and "Golden Glow, the Afternoon Taj". Additionally, please visit my Taj photo travelogues, just so share some more of the photographic joy I experienced during my few hours' time visiting the world's most beautiful building.
Note: For the particulars on visiting the Taj - prices, entry points, days of operation and such - please see my "Visiting the Taj - The Ins and Outs" tip. From the moment I first glimpsed the Taj, I was in awe. My first view of this magnificent structure was from afar... we could see it from the edge of the Agra Fort, a couple of kilometers across a dusty plain. Like an angel hovering over the horizon, the Taj appears in the distance... it almost looks like you're dreaming.
And when you get there, you realize that it's both a dream and a stunning reality.