The Taj Mahal, the Grand Monument Dedicated to Love
Journey to India, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) series
Armando F Sanchez
We arrived very early to the entrance to visit the Taj Mahal. We were in line for sun up at 6:00 am. There were already long lines of people waiting to visit this magnificent site.
Published on LatinoLA: December 23, 2015
We had a couple of precious hours to walk along the surrounding lush green garden, to enter the brilliantly white Taj and tour independently around the grounds to admire the morning sunlight shimmering on the marble walls and floor. It was a sight to behold.
I walked slowly and carefully through the Taj. I could see that in practically every nook and cranny of each large room it was meticulously adorned. One can see small pieces of marble, perhaps no bigger than a hand that were each intricately and carefully carved. Each tiny piece on the inside and outside the building, was a special piece of art. It took hundred of thousands of these tiny and brittle pieces of white marble to adorn all the rooms with high ceilings.
We stopped to admire the many intricate details of this architectural marvel. The more attention I paid to my surroundings, the mystical site revealed itself. It seemed that every small space and crevice, throughout the building, was carefully set in placed. One could also see the many spots where gold streams and large gems once adorned the walls. Viewing this world renowned edifice, I was suddenly struck by the realization that I was looking at something much more than a very large marble wonder.
I took time to examine myself and get to know what I was feeling as I stood here. I repeated my steps with a different perspective of my surrounding and then I soon realized that I was standing in the midst of something incredible. The Taj almost miraculously put me in touch with a deep part that we all share at the core of our existence.
Here is what happened. Let's take a journey back in time.
We examine the life of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built this enormous musaleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Shah was, without any doubt, completely and unquestionably deeply in love with Mumtaz.
The ties and bond between them were strong and permanent. I could imagine them, in their early years of their relationship, running around their big palace playing hid and seek. They unquestionably spent many hours together in different private rooms as they laughed, cried and shared deep intimate stories.
The affection and bond between them was continuously growing stronger. I could now imagine that special look of love that they shared for each other. Their eyes shimmered brightly as they looked into each other's eyes and soul. The responsibilities of ruling kept Shah busy, but he anxiously looked forward to when they could once again be together. He felt an intensity of excitement in his heart when she walked into the room.
How many times did they walk around their palace holding their hands tightly and gazing at the stars together? Undoubtedly, as they grew older their attraction, longing and affection for each other, kept growing without bounds, over the weeks and months. As they grew older, they spent more precious time together. They quickly became inseparable. With reverence and deep tenderness he whispered into her ear about how he could not imagine living without her. I know now that what I am sharing happened.
The story of Shah is one where a powerful ruler had what other rulers also had, but he had something extra special than others. He had the unquestionable, deep, perpetual and amazing love of Mumtaz. She, in turn, received his unconditional love. He adored her. She would kiss him and it would feel like fire wherever she touched him.
How do we know this happened?
The answer is clear for all of us to see as we marvel at this magnificent monument that he built to remember his life with her and to honor her.
He committed huge amounts of resources, gems, artisans, and labor hours to have the Taj built and dedicated only to her.
Having suddenly and tragically lost her while she was giving birth to their fourteenth child, he was probably inconsolable. As I walked through the building, I could imagine him visiting the site and walking alone and weeping loudly as he kept remembering the wonderful times he created with her. He would recall in his heart the many moments of intimacy and passion that they shared. When she died, he was immediately faced with the realization that he could no longer hold her tightly. That we would no longer hear her voice and her laughter which he could hear from afar. He felt the emptiness that comes from knowing that she would not be near so that he could console and touch her warm cheeks. She would no longer lie tenderly next to him while she would softly touch his forehead and comfort him.
What kept him going after her unexpected death? What saved him was the idea of living on in order to build a memorable tribute to her that kept the memory alive their precious time together and their devotion and lives together.
I'm certain that the 20,000 artisans that arrived to build and decorate the Taj were deeply touched by his deep sorrow and embraced his desire to help in immortalizing their love.
As we were admiring the Taj from the outside, it dawned on me that perhaps we were not visiting a grave site, but rather we were viewing and admiring a monumental shrine to Mumtaz and eternal amor.
I'm aware that the Taj is referred to as a mausoleum, but perhaps it's not what it's labeled to be. It's a fact that Mumtaz was placed to rest in the main room, but it's possible that Shah wanted to build the Taj to celebrate her during his lifetime as his lifelong friend, wife, confidant, and lover.
The Taj was built 362 years ago. At that time there were no other structures or buildings around it. Even today, it stands out in the sunlight and it must be a spectacular sight when there is a clear night with a full moon. I can easily imagine Shah and their kids sitting on floor cushions on the open top floor of their fort and looking directly in order to see the resting home of Mumtaz in all it grand glory and unquestionable beauty. For Shah, the building helped him to always feel connected with her until his final breath.
I believe that Shah knew that his own life would end, but that his story about his love of his life could be heralded into the future. He lived for 35 years after her passing and 21 on those years were dedicated to building the monument to her.
The testament of his love for her is now world famous.
We join Shah in keeping her memory alive. We have shared images of the monument around the world. Schools, throughout the world, have shown children Shah's tribute to his precious wife and to the power of love.
We join Shah as we also remember her as we call out her name "Mahal"!
Armando F Sanchez:
Armando F Sanchez is a consultant on global markets, speaker, writer, and world traveler. He is the CEO of Armando F Sanchez Global Business Consulting. He also heads a media company that produces global web cast and podcast programming.
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