Taj Mahal Impressions
From studied awe to sheer ecstacy, people
have literally competed to say the most beautiful things about the Taj
Mahal. Some have admired its beauty; others have revealed the various
activities that took place here. We take a look
own composition in praise of the Taj
Mahal is found in Badshah Nama: "
The sight of this mansion
creates sorrowing sighs/And makes sun and moon shed tears from their eyes/In
this world this edifice has been made/ to display thereby the Creator's
From the Travels in the Moghul Empire, 1670 by the French
: "The Koran is continually read with apparent
devotion by certain Mullahs kept in the Mausoleum for that purpose
is opened with much ceremony once a year..and no Christian is admitted
within , lest its sanctity be profaned."
In 1783 the British painter Hodges
says of the tomb: "it
appears like a perfect pearl on an azure ground. The effect is such I have
never experienced from any work of art."
By the time of the British conquest of India, the attitude to the Taj Mahal
had changed. The beautiful memorial had turned into a pleasure resort; in
its gardens, Englishman met their lovers. On its terrace they danced while
the mosque and the jawab were rented out to honeymooners!
Writes a then well-known British officer, Colonel
Sleeman's wife: "I cannot tell what I think. I do not know how to
criticize such a building but I can tell what I feel. I would die tomorrow
to have such another over me."
The American novelist, Bayard Taylor, wrote about the
Taj Mahal: "Did you ever build a castle in the Air? Here is one,
brought down to earth and fixed for the wonder of ages".
Lord Curzon, the British Governor-General who is
credited to have somewhat saved the Taj Mahal from neglect, said in a speech
from the terrace of the monument: "If I had never done anything else in
India, I have written my name here, and the letters are a living joy."
The poet Rabindranath Tagore has perhaps said it best
of all: "You know Shah Jahan, life and youth, wealth and glory, they
all drift away in the current of time. You strove therefore, to perpetuate
only the sorrow of your heart
Let the splendour of diamond, pearl and
Only let this one teardrop, this Taj Mahal, glisten
spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever."