India is one of the most ancient countries of the world. Great historical monuments and places are scattered all over the country. Taj Mahal is the one such monument. It is known as the one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I had read and heard about it, and also seen its beautiful pictures and the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal. It is fulfilled a great desire of me.

The Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shajahan in the memory of his beloved queen and wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1630, in childbirth. The marvel of the Mughal architecture was completed in 17 years, by 20 thousand workmen and craftsmen. The entire team of the master builders was headed by a Persian master designer Ustad Pasha.

A red sandstone gateway is there which is quite imposing. Its long water-course divides the path into two, leading to the Taj. The monument is beautifully mirrored in it. There are dozens of fountains playing in it. The taj Mahal stands on a raised marble platform like a big white flame, a flame of love arrested in marble. A flight of steps leads to the platform. At the four corners are four tall white minarets. The central chamber contains the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shajahan. There are inscriptions from holy Quran on these tombs. This central chamber is surrounded by eight smaller ones. The natural light comes in it through finely latticed marble screens. The echo in the chamber is really a marvel. It fascinated me the most. A sound produced softly is echoed in an endless harmony. I clapped a couple of time to enjoy it.

The Taj is studded with a number of precious and semi-precious stones. The monument is so majestic, inspiring, beautiful and inexpressible. It looks most wonderful in the full moon-light. It is never the same all the time. In the early morning it is different. So it is in the evening. And still another in the noon time. Really, it is worth more than a single visit. I want to see it again and again.

There is a pair of red stone mosques on the either side of the Taj Mahal. The one in the east provides a panoramic view of the Taj, the river Yamuna and the Red Fort in distance. It is open to visitors from sunrise to 10p.m. On full moon nights it is open till midnight. There is an entry fee but the children below 15 are admitted free.

It is said that a sheet of pearls worth lakhs of rupees once covered the tombs of Mumtaz and Shajahan. But these were looted and carried away in 1720. The gold sheets that formerly decorated the tombs were also looted. Originally, it had two silver doors as well. These were removed and looted in 1764.

It was a memorable experience to visit the Taj Mahal. Thousands of visitors from India and abroad comes to visit this monument every year. All around the Taj there are spacious lush green lawns and gardens. Nearby, the river Yamuna flows slowly and majestically. I took a number of photographs of the Taj Mahal which keep my memory of the monument fresh.