What's love got to do with it?

Taj Mahal, India

There are some moments in life that don't live up to the anticipation, but your first sight of India's Taj Mahal will not be one of them.

This building is every bit as impressive and wonderful as you have been led to believe, and an amazing tribute from a man to the woman he loved.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, construction began on the building in 1632.  Thousands of artisans and craftsman were employed in its construction, and the descendants of those same workers are still used today to ensure the building is kept in top condition.

Visitors are able to walk around and through the Taj Mahal
Visitors are able to walk around and through the Taj Mahal

As I walked around this enormous building, our guide shared his version of the story behind its creation.  Evidently, when Shah Jahan was 14 years old, he was walking through the local market.  A strong wind blew through the market stalls, blowing aside the demure clothing of Mumtaz who was just a young girl serving on her father's stall.

Blown away by Mumtaz's beauty, Shah fell deeply in love and romance blossomed between the couple. Although they both longed for marriage, Shah was the heir and promised to marry another.  So he did, and then another wife before finally marrying Mumtaz.

They say it was a marriage of love, and the birth of 14 children is fairly good evidence that it was. Unfortunately, the birth of the 14th child resulted in Mumtaz's death at the age of 37. Shah was so distressed by her death he decided to construct of the Taj Mahal as a memorial.

The workmanship on the the Taj Mahal is amazing.
The workmanship on the the Taj Mahal is amazing.

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra which is a four-hour, perhaps longer depending on the traffic, drive from Delhi.  From The Leela Palace New Delhi, the driver took the new expressway which is a toll road and less crowded than other routes. The locals were very surprised at how quick our journey was.

If you can allow a full day for the tour, include a visit to the Red Fort in Agra and the tomb of Shaikh Chisti.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was hosted by Jet Airways, the The Leela Palace New Delhi and The Leela Palace Bengaluru.  In Singapore I stayed at The Fullerton Hotel.  All hotels are part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

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