India – part 2 (of 5)

India never really invaded any other country or declared war, but often had to defend themselves. Apart from the British, it was actually Mughals who left the biggest impact on their heritage, history and architecture. Mughals ruled from 1526 to 1705;

  • Baber (1526 – 1530)
  • Humanu (1530-1545 & 1555-1556)
  • Akbar (1556 – 1605)
  • Jahangir (1605 – 1627)
  • Shah Jahan (1627 – 1658)
  • Aurangjeb (1658 – 1705)

part 2 01

Shah Jahan’s third wife – Mumtaz Mahal – died during the birth of her fourteenth child. He was so heart broken that he decided to build a mausoleum to rival the love he had for her. Construction of the Taj Mahal started six months after her passing and took 22 years to complete the complex as is stands today. A thousand elephants – allegedly – was used during the construction and one can only speculate as to the exact number of normal labourers. Twenty-eight different types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid in white marble. The Taj (nothing is sacred for the Indian love to abbreviate) is one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.

part 2 02

Yes, you can Google Earth and Youtube the Taj Mahal, but seeing the sheer size and proportion of it in real life forces one eventually into silence and admiration. I am torn between the scale of it, which in itself is beautiful, and the knowledge that this was achieved without modern technology and equipment. The pietra dura demands respect. Seriously, how much did this guy love his wife? This type of dedication and devotion has long been banished to dictionaries only. Keep in mind this was his third wife and she was mostly pregnant during their short 15 years of marriage. Imagine the bitter gossip between wife 1 and 2 when their husband sets foot to the building site on a daily basis.

part 2 03

One Rand equals roughly 5 Rupee.

I support entrance fee discrimination between locals and foreigners. Rs20 (R4) for Indians and Rs750 (R150) for us. Still a bargain. You can’t replicate or imagine the moment. A couple of times I had to remind myself that I am standing in front of the Taj Mahal. The biggest building complex dedicated to love in the world. Oh wait, over there is the bench Princess Diana posed at. Alone. Got to give it to her, she knew a thing or two about PR 😉

part 2 04

OK, enough history and sentiment.

Continue reading India – part 3 (of 5).