A quintessential stop on any tour through India, the Taj Mahal is supposed to be all it’s cracked up to be, and for some people, more. But it’s hard to not have expectations of something so hyped-up and touristy.
As I entered through the red brick gates, I wasn’t overwhelmed with awe or shock, rather, I just felt a sense of calm. “Yup, it looks just as good as the pictures.”
We entered the grounds around 7am and roamed around the area taking photo after photo (I mostly took photo after photo) while trying to stay away from the crowds. When we entered the Taj to see the actual mausoleum, I soon felt anxious and bored. It was plain compared to the outside, and I felt an urge to get out and see the facade again as soon as possible. In between photos on the famous bench, (for Simon the Princess Di bench, for me the Oprah bench) we took long pauses to stare at the building as the sun rose to our right. I made sure to take a few more photos and give it a few more glances before leaving for good that morning.
In the afternoon, we decided we wanted to see it in a different light, so we took an auto- rickshaw across the river to the opposite side of the Taj. With a sneaky Kingfisher in hand, we sat for over an hour simply staring. We had a few chats with the people around us, but rarely did I look anyone straight in the eye, instead I was fixated on the granite Goliath in the distance.
That’s when I started to realize something. For me, the beauty of the Taj wasn’t instant or in the form of any initial shock. Instead, over time I found my eyes constantly gravitating toward the building and happily fixated on it for as long as it was in sight. Whenever the light even slightly changed, I needed one more picture. Whenever I would turn away from it, I wanted one last look.
If visual art can be defined by simply being something pleasing to the eyes, then the Taj Mahal is exactly that, in perfection. Gazing at the building is looking at something so perfect, that in that moment there is nothing more majestic to look at or nowhere more ideal to be.
Postcards from the Taj Mahal
And the out-takes..