The Taj Mahal is a pilgrimage for any traveller. It was built over the period of 17 years from 1631 to 1648 by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his favourite wife queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj, architecturally has four geometric, symmetrical sides all of which change colour depending on the time of day. In the morning it is a pinkish hue, milky white in the afternoon and golden at night when lit by the moon. Supposedly, the changing colour resembles the changing mood of females - in particular queen Mumtaz Mahal. But I'm not a fan of that explanation.
The Taj is located in a town called Agra, which is basically another small(ish) town that the tourism industry has revolutionised. Everywhere there are remnants of traditionalism which you see in the streets, local clothing and local food. This exists alongside the souvenir shops, hotels and aggressive tuk tuk drivers.
The Taj is located about a 3 minute walk out of the city of Agra. Don't bother paying for a tuk tuk, despite people offering it to you at ridiculous prices. The city isn't big and offers a scenic walk with many pleasant (and a few moderately unpleasant) people along the way. The entrance fee is 750 rupees ($11USD).
The opening gate is incredibly beautiful, but that's nothing compared to the actual site itself. The grounds were incredibly crowded which of course, you'd expect from a 'wonder of the world'. The plus side of the crowding is witnessing the hilarious and completely unnecessary photo poses which honestly took up a large portion of my time there.
The pools and hedges leading up to the Taj are perfectly manicured which offer a perfect picture from any angle (despite the crowding). The building itself is made of stunning marble and semi precious stones with so many intricacies, carvings and finite details. The closer you get, the more you see. It's truly marbleous (hehe!). There are two other symmetrical mausoleums on either side of the Taj Mahal which act as sacred sites and are similarly intricate and beautiful.
The grounds are inhabited by local monkeys, squirrels and chipmunks as well as different kinds of birds. I ended up having another classic close call with a monkey who was struggling to use the tap on the water fountain. Last time I try to help a monkey.
Overall, the site irregardless of the construction on the pillars, crowds or scary monkeys was incredibly peaceful, serene and mesmerising. Truly, a wonder of the world and one of India's biggest must see's.