I'd seen pictures for ever...but honestly engaging it in person brought me to a whole other level. I left my hotel in the early morning cold. Walked. Wanted to feel the journey rather than take one of the taxi rickshaws. The Taj Mahal started appearing in the gray distance. Soon I was on the grounds. Entry ways. Passages. Then up some stairs through an arched building as the domes gradually unfold. This 17th century mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan to honor is favorite wife Mumtaz who died while giving birth to their 14th child. Its a marble testimony to his love for her. Lacy cut outs...fine decorations...her crypt in the very center. His years later to her side. We sat quietly. Composed photographs. Assisted other visitors in creating that signature Taj Mahal photos. Heard stories... Enterprising Indians attempted to offer their photographic services and their beautiful saree smocked bodies for little fees. We bought. Engaged. Its one major monument.
Later we went to the Red Fort. Also impressive...with so much story. 3,000 concubines who existed for the reputation and the pleasure of their master... Damn rulers in those days knew how it get down to basics in asserting power and dominance!