A Visit to the Taj

February 2, 2012

A mid-morning view of the Taj Mahal.
With Benny and Josh in front of the Taj.
Three million people pass through the main gate each year.

If you ever have a chance, you should visit the Taj Mahal.

It fully deserves its reputation as one of the wonders of the world. Built as a mausoleum by grief-stricken Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his third wife, the Taj took 20,000 men 22 years to build. Except for the Shah’s tomb, which was added later, everything in the Taj is perfectly symmetrical.

When you visit, you cannot help but be dazzled by the magnificent vision of a man who could dream of such a thing.  

It is a monument to love and loss, a reminder that “nothing gold can stay.” And it is truly worth the visit if you can survive the 5-6 hour drive from Delhi to Agra, which is not that easy to do. We were tired and covered with grime from the road when we arrived in Agra and tired and covered with grime when we made it back to Delhi.

But there is nothing like the Taj in all the world so I recommend it to you. 

As you stand gazing at the gleaming marble, the polished sandstone, the beautiful gardens, the massive domes, and all the inlaid gems, when you view the intricate carving that adorns the Taj, you think to yourself, “This is what the hand of man can produce.”

It helps to remember that the Taj remains today what it was in the beginning, an elaborate, extensive, expensive mausoleum. There are two dead people inside, buried somewhere beneath all that marble. For 350 years the Taj has been the symbol of undying human love, but if life teaches us anything, it is that nothing on  earth is undying. 

A Christian visiting the Taj cannot help but think about what it all means. The Taj deserves its place as a World Heritage Site. But the deeper meaning must not be lost. The Taj reminds us of the fundamental difference between Christianity and the way of the world. The world builds a glorious mausoleum and says, “Here is love that ends in death.” Christianity points to an empty tomb and says, “Here is love that ends in life.»

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