The mists seemed as impenetrable as the darkness before the sunrise. Even the twists and turns in the streets before us hidden behind the smoky facade. But we knew the way.
Dogs howled near and far; the odd puppy scurried between our feet; pigs rustled in the rubbish and the cows sat still as stone, on and off the road. Another corner and we’d be there.
We stood in line, right at the front. We were going to be first into this iconic structure, built on love, romance and dreams. We entered, the mists as shrouding as before. Nothing had changed.
Along stone walkways amidst flowering gardens we scampered, trying desperately to outrun the mists, but they clung onto to stone and the grass and hung effortlessly over water.
We knew what lay hidden behind the mists and so before the hoards and before the tours we hied ahead. Ringing step after ringing step brought us one step closer to the perfect marble mausoleum known so well around the world. Still nothing, just a white veil…
… And then, just close enough, the magic emerged from the mists. We were confronted with majestic spires spiralling high and disappearing reform on view and enraptured by the harmony of the vast vault.
The peace within and around the tomb was spellbinding. Within, the odd name called out echoed around the double domed ceiling, sending tingles down the spine and an acoustic feast for the ears. Outside the mists still danced; affording scant secret glimpses from time-to-time.
Magic was never far away. Where the light glinted through the mist-made curtain; beauty, revealed.
Hours were lost to those mists. Shimmering in front, around, the Taj, but never showing too much. In the end, cold tendrils hidden within made us turn our backs on the cold white beauty to find food and warmth.
Yet as morning turned to afternoon, the sun high in the sky – hot enough to burn the clouds – revealed the once hidden magic. Standing tall and proud, a symbol of a love lost but not forgotten, it towered juxtaposed to its surroundings; India. Agra.
The Taj Mahal has many faces to show, be they plain and clear, bathed in sunlight or; hidden away, only sharing secrets to those who strive to search. Every find another kind of beauty.
As the sun sets another beauty is shown, one softer and gentler than the Taj that blazons in the midday sun. It is a lovers embrace; warm, reassuring.
Or is it. Some nights as the clouds crack and the ’crow-call’ echos of the marble the Taj Mahal takes on a more sinister facade. A lovers toil? A love unrequited? Or is it just a reminder that behind the marble facade the dead lie here? Who are we to know?
All I know is time is closing fast and we need to leave. A time never forgotten, and yet, the Taj Mahal is fading… fading… fading…