During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this last of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about the Taj Mahal.
Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...
The Taj Mahal
For those who don't know me, Concise is certainly not an adjective that has ever been used to describe me or anything that I do or write, however there's always a first.
The Taj Mahal is my view the most beautiful building that I've ever seen and I have to say, am probably ever likely to see. Words seriously fail it, and to describe it as amazing, gorgeous, romantic, spellbinding and breathtaking are not only an insult to this genuinely magnificent proper World Wonder but perhaps a failing of the English language, or perhaps my concept of it, as I cannot think of a phrase or word that is quite frankly worthy of use in the same descriptive sentence as this World Wonder. You simply must see it at least once in your lifetime. The pictures, even that famous one featuring Princess Diana, don't do it justice.
A teeny-weeny minuscule and only criticism that I feel awful about even mentioning... the touts outside. You have to run the Gladiator Gauntlet, but once you've forced your way past and survived to see the Taj Mahl, you forget all about them. Do not let them put you off.
Sorry, maybe not so concise after all.
Had you heard of the Taj Mahal before travelling?
What were your expectations?
Immensely high. I thought it would be the most beautiful building I'd ever see, and in a weird way I didn't want it to be, simply because I didn't want to be a cliche.
What was your first impression?
Absolutely gobsmackingly beautiful.
What did you like most about the Taj Mahal?
The fact that you proposed. [Other than that?] The immense beauty of the building and the grounds. And the effect that it had on me. [What effect was that?] "I can't believe I'm here." It looked much better than I ever imagined,
What didn't you like about the Taj Mahal?
Nothing about the Taj Mahal, however upon entering the Wonder the touts were really annoying - one in particular.
Would you regard the Taj Mahal as a World Wonder?
For my friends and observant readers, I proposed to Danielle at the Taj Mahal and she said yes. Sorry I didn't mention it earlier (it was going to be a secret until I returned in May, but Danielle got drunk and blabbed to some friends).