Mirza Shahab-ud-din Baig Muhammad Khan Khurramm, known as Shah Jahan, looks to the horizon. Since 1658, he has been living under house arrest, ordered by his own son, in the Red Fort of Agra. From his penthouse tower, all he can see is one thing: his wife.
|View of Taj Mahal from the Red Fort (Agra)|
|Red Fort (Agra)|
A few days later, Shah Jahan would pass away and could finally rest next to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in the magnificent mausoleum built in her honor: The Taj Mahal.
Arjumand Banu Begum is giving birth the fourteenth son of the muslim emperor of the Mughal Empire: Shah Jahan («King of the World»). Arjumand, better known as Mumtaz Mahal («Chosen One of the Palace»), is the favourite of the three queens from Shah Jahan. She has been always at his side, supporting him during the succession fights with his brothers.
Four years after succeeding to the throne, they live happily in a prosperous and, for the time being, politically stable empire. The Mughal Empire, extended since 1526 over nearly all the Indian subcontinent and part of Afghanistan, shines architectonically under the rule of Shah Jahan, while returning to a strict interpretation of Islam. Hindu temples have no chance with him…
But Mrs. Destiny, as always, had her own plans: Mumtaz Mahal would die in her last childbirth and Shah Jahan, plunged into sadnesss, would order the building of a mausoleum complex, across the Yamuna river from his own royal palace at Agra, to bury the body of his beloved wife.
The mausoleum was constructed completely in white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones by more than 20000 workers and 1000 elephants coming from all over India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Two decades later, the most magnificent mausoleum in the world was ready to receive Mumtaz Mahal: The Taj Mahal.
This españolito is entering the Taj Mahl at 5:30am. Although my relationship with India is not at its best -actually it is at its worst-, I want to use the opportunity of being in Agra to see the sunrise at one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The story behind the building amazes me, but I must admit that I am so much looking forward to leaving this country, that I am basically planning to go to the Taj Mahal, say hundred times «no thanks», take the picture and leave.
– «Dile a ese chico que se aparte de ahí» (say to that guy to move away). I hear in perfect Spanish how a guy wants me to step out of his picture. I move some meters away and continue my early morning walk through the gardens of the building. With those guys, to whom I was trying to destroy the picture, I would finally spend almost three hours walking and laughing together around the Taj Mahal. It is so funny to fight with the rest of the population to get the best picture of the Taj Mahal. I do not know if they will be reading this surreal blog, but anyway, thank you both for adopting me during those hours. It is just great meeting nice people anywhere in the world.
Taj Mahal: unexpectedly a really fun morning, and definitely a magic place: a teardrop on the cheek of time («Tagore»).
Next stop: Tel Aviv – Looking forward to leaving India… («¡Tengo unas ganas de salir de la India que no me tengo!«).