A Building of Historical Interest Visited by Me
I shall never forget my first sight of the Taj Mahal, at Agra. I had heard much about its beauty and had read of how the Moghal Emperor, Shahjahan, to his great sorrow at the loss of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and as a token of his great love for her, had, at enormous cost, built for her this wonderful and world-famous tomb. It is said that it took twenty years to build and that twenty thousand men were employed at one time on the work. So when my father took me with him on a visit to Agra, I was very happy, because I knew I should see this wonderful building.
It was in the evening, just before the sunset, that I first saw it. We went into the beautiful peaceful garden, with its straight walks, tall dark cypress trees, smooth green lawns, beds of glowing flowers, and its flashing fountains, and there rose up before us this wonder of the world. It is all of white marble-a splendid white dome rising up in the midst, with four tall slender white marble minarets around it, one at each corner of the platform on which the great tomb stands.
At a little distance, the Taj Mahal looks small and delicate, like a fairy palace; but as we get nearer, we see how large and stately it really is. When we went up the marble steps, and stood close to it, the dome seemed to soar high up into the blue sky and the clouds, now red and gold with sunset light.
It stands on the bank of the river Jamuna, the waters of which were all gold in the sunset, and made the building look more beautiful than ever.
We went inside, and saw the marble tomb within, all decorated with precious stones, and the beautiful screens of carved marble, that looked like delicate jeweller’s work in silver. And there we thought of the well-beloved queen whose body lies below, and the great love of the king who had lavished his wealth in putting up this lovely memorial to her.
That evening I persuaded my father to take me again to see the Taj, and we saw it in the light of the full moon-a wonderful sight. It looked like a building of pearl, or a palace made of silver; or, so bright and tender, it might have been made of white clouds. The gleaming white marble, the black shadows, the dim light, the silence, and the sweet-scented gardens, all made it a sight never to be forgotten.