The Taj Mahal

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

THE TAJ MAHAL

Date: 8th January 2016

THE TAJ MAHAL

When we realised our destination was Jaipur, I felt sure that meant we would not visit the Taj Mahal. Thank Goodness I was wrong.

We'd travelled for a long time on good road and then it all stopped as if we'd come to a brick wall - the road into the City was potholed and rubbish strewn and for the last half mile there was no access other than by Tuk-Tuk and then walking the final few hundred yards through an uneven and grubby lane selling tacky souvenirs. I couldn't believe this was the approach to one of the Wonders of the World. I was also wondering if the Taj would live up to expectation or would disappoint because we see so many pictures.

However, after security and some steps down, there it was - absolutely Wonderful. Even the fact that it was teeming with people could not detract from one's enjoyment of this fabulous epitaph to a man's love for his wife. Our team were only allowed to film around the approach steps and we were kept there for hours but whilst we were waiting our turn for interview we did have that wonderful Monument to look at. I was given a lovely lace parasol as a 'joke' present for my last Birthday and for some reason I'd packed it and again I don't know why but I decided to take it with me to the Taj.

It turned out to be the 'star' of the day. It was obviously a curiosity and I had women, children and even some young men either asking if they could borrow it for a photograph or wanting to be photographed with this daft English woman holding the parasol over them. It was a 'conversation maker' and led to chats with many of the visitors. In fact one delightful Indian family, whom I met on the way in and on the way out, had so many photos taken with the parasol that I was invited to a wedding in 2 years time!! I don't think that will come about but what was interesting was that they asked if I would re-visit and when I replied that it was an awfully long way to travel they said they'd been travelling for days from Bangalore! That is near to where my Father grew up and where his sister trained as a nurse. Small world syndrome don't you think!

Eventually we were given just under an hour to see the Taj. The walk from the steps to the Monument alone takes over ten minutes and it looked very much as though we would not have the time to go inside to view the Tombs of Shah Jehan and Mumtaz. However, one of our group who shall be nameless said in no uncertain terms that he/she hadn't come this far not to see this wonder of the world. We all agreed and joined the crowd. It really was a whistle stop trip and there were so many people crowding to see the actual tombs but we did see them and I just wished (selfishly) that we could have been there without the teeming hoards. A chap touched my arm and beckoned me - I thought he was a guide - and using a torch showed me the translucence of the marble and the semi precious stones embedded in the walls surrounding/guarding the tombs. He obviously wanted a tip which I gave,  but I had seen something the others sadly missed. The stones embedded in the marble are predominantly malachite, onyx, carnelian and lapis lazuli. Some of the work is in the Italian style of Pietra Dura.

Our crew were filming till Sunset which, sadly, on that day was not spectacular. At certain times of the year apparently it is a wondrous sight. I'm so grateful that we did get to see the Taj Mahal and perhaps one day I'll get to see it again preferably in the company of a loved one. I know my son would thoroughly appreciate a visit.

THE TAJ MAHAL

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