...Finished 359 years ago, it is still considered by many to be the most beautiful building in the world. It is one of the seven wonders of the world and, after seeing it in person, I have no doubt as to why. Construction of the Taj Mahal (Crown Palace) began in 1632 and required the labor of 20,000 people for nearly 22 years. It is the paramount example of Mughal architecture and was heavily influenced by Persian, Turkish, and earlier Indian design. Made of white marble from the state of Rajesthan inlaid with semiprecious stones from throughout the Middle East and Asia, it is quite literally a massive jewel.

However, neither descriptions nor photos can properly convey the magnificence of this place. There is one element, however, that I believe the photos here do capture. From nearly every angle and at nearly every time of day, the Taj exists like some sort of optical illusion. Even in person, it looks like a pristine painting that is too perfect to be considered realistic.

As you can read on the inscription in the photo below, the Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his third and presumably favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to her 14th child. The entire time that I was within the Taj and the surrounding gardens, I could not help but think what a powerful legacy this man left for himself and his wife. I doubt if anyone can properly describe the Taj Mahal and I am certain that I cannot, so I will just let the photos speak for themselves.

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