Agra, India: Taj Mahal = $ or <3?

Dear Lunch Table,

At the moment my head is spinning with wild thoughts about the whole love story idea behind the Taj Mahal, and my brain power is being randomly interrupted by Taylor Swift and her confessions about this abstract emotion. I’m debating whether the story behind the Taj is more like Swift’s “You’ll be the ‘emperor’ and I’ll be the ‘empress.’ It’s a love story, baby, just say yes,” or ABBA’s “Money, money, money . . . It’s a rich man’s world.” In any case, the story supposedly goes like this:

Shah Jahan, a Moghul ruler, had this building (yes, I stooped so low as to call the Taj a “building”) constructed for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. His two previous wives were unable to bear children, so when his new wife gave birth, he fell in love with her (because, of course, falling in love before marriage is just plain ridiculous). As the story goes, Shah Jahan was so in love with his new wife, that when she died giving birth to her 14th child, he built the Taj Mahal in her honor.

This Crown (Taj) Palace (Mahal) is constructed out of white marble and everything on its premises is symmetrical. As soon as this palace was built, Shah Jahan attempted to build his own Taj made out of black marble, which was more expensive than the white marble he used for his wife (just saying). Unfortunately for Shah Jahan, his son, Aurangzeb, was upset at his father’s inappropriate spending and banished him to a tower (which, by the way, was pretty comfortable). During Shah Jahan’s reign, before, you know, his son took over, this fort was a home for his children and wives, including his least favorite child, his last daughter, the one who “killed” his wife during childbirth. Poor girl . . .

So, anyways, Shah Jahan was banished, and his son took over, and then the grandson, Bahadur Shah, reigned, and then the British took over, and then there was more history . . . But the worst part is that the black Taj Mahal with the silver bridge connecting the white Taj with the black one (there I go again, referring the Taj as “one”) was never finished, and therefore all the visitors have something to weep about. Yes, so much more tragic than a dead wife, or a banished emperor, or the British control . . .

So, I guess I’m somewhat biased, and as you probably have guessed, I believe the story behind the Taj Mahal relates more closely to Abba’s “Money, Money, Money . . .” rather than Taylor Swift’s “It’s a love story . . .” But for the sake of Shah Jahan, I hope I’m wrong . . .

I miss you guys,


Never, ever question my strength. I can lift the Taj with just one hand. It must be the marble . . . Or the Indian food.

Interesting Fact: More than 20,000 workers and over 1,000 elephants were used to construct the Taj Mahal.

Things to Do:

1) Taj Mahal: I know a lot of people describe this palace as beautiful and I had always laughed it off and said, “Okay, it’s beautiful.” But gosh darn it, it’s BEAUTIFUL! I’m not an architecture buff. In fact, I can’t even make a decent Lego home without it falling apart, but I was drawn to the artistic aspect of the palace: the symmetry, the carvings, the different stone. I know this is a boring word that probably doesn’t give anyone much insight into what the Taj is like, but I’m going to use it anyway: It was incredible.

On one of the walls of the Taj, there is an outline of Albert Einstein on the stone. No, Albert Einstein was born over 200 years after the construction of the Taj, so it wasn’t a memorial commemorating this great scientist. Just a coincidence. Just a strange coincidence . . .

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About KJ

I, KJ Davidson-Turner, have willingly given up the trauma and drama of Junior year and my lovely friends at the lunch table (I'm going to miss you guys!) to travel to unknown areas of the world and experience the cultures of these unfamiliar places.

2 Responses to “Agra, India: Taj Mahal = $ or <3?”

  1. I think you’re right. But the Taj Mahal is on our bucket list now.

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