Okay, we'll try not to bore you with too many
Taj Mahal pictures, but it's hard, so hard!
Here's another view you don't see every day, taken
from the extensive gardens to either side of the Taj
Unusual view of the Taj framed within the entryway of the fake mosque. (There's a
real mosque to the left and a fake mosque to the right to preserve the symmetry.)
Happy to finally be here in person seeing it with our own eyes
The "real" mosque to the left of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. It's interesting to note
that the most famous icon of a primarily Hindu nation is the Islamic Taj Mahal.
Extraordinary detail work is everywhere to be seen,
like these fine marble inlays and latticework carvings
Monet-like view of the Yamuna River behind the Taj.
We saw  parrots, blue herons, and hawks here.
We were surprised at the "nature preserve" feel
of the grounds inside the perimeter of the Taj Mahal
It's a haven for a surprising amount of wildlife,
including monkeys who seem to have the run of the place
The Taj Mahal Nature Walk offers peaceful views of this national treasure from a distance
Rooftop dinners in Agra offer splendid views of the Taj Mahal
The impressive South Gate is the main entrance to the Taj
One of the hexagonal towers overlooking the Yamuna River
Robin enjoying a relaxing moment in her Taj "booties"
Be aware your pass to get into the Taj is good for ONE ENTRY ONLY,
so be sure to soak up as much detail as you can during your visit
Red sandstone building at the perimeter of the Taj
The money shot!
Where We Be
Taj Mahal -- Agra, India
We got up extra early and were at the Taj by
sunrise. We spent the next few hours blissfully
wandering the grounds. Of course the highlight
was that first view through the main South Gate
where you see the Taj and the long rectangular
pool of water leading up to it. We stood in line
to take the obligatory -- and totally worth it --
photo from the far end of the pool. The air was
misty and smoky from all the bonfires from the
Holi festival the night before. (Did I mention the
bonfires were built not just of wood but of cow
patties arranged in decorative patterns?!)

We put booties over our shoes to allow us to go
up onto the marble pedestal upon which the Taj
sits. We learned that putting the Taj on top of
this pedestal was considered a master stroke of
design because only the sky is visible behind it.
From close up we could really admire the floral
and geometric patterns carved into the white
marble. Within the mausoleum are countless
flower petals consisting of inlays of 64 different
semi-precious gems. At the exact center is the
marble cenotaph (false tomb) for Shah Jahan’s
wife for whom this whole labor of love was built.
The only thing not symmetrical is the Shah's
own cenotaph to the left. (The two are actually
buried in a protective vault below the floor.)