Bags of marble

I came over a bit Princess Di today. I’m not sure I really perfected the coy, doe-eyed look, but I tried my best:

Me at the Taj

This was the fifth attempt at trying to get someone to take my picture for me in front of the Taj Mahal. The first person managed to chop my head off, the second two photographed me as a tiny, shadowy blob, while the third managed to cut the building out all together. I’ve no idea how they did it, as the place is bloomin’ huge – it took 20,000 people 22 years to make it, and it’s phenomenally intricate. I hadnt realised the building isn’t just plain marble – it’s covered in thousands of carvings and inlays made of semi-precious coloured stones, comme ca:

Taj detail

The photos really don’t do the place justice, but let’s just say it was worth the 5am wake-up, the scary mile trek in the dark and being chased by stray dogs and inquisitive locals to get there to see it as the sun rose.

The Taj was built by Murghal emporer Shah Jahan as a sign of love after his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, popped her clogs. Ol’ Shah Jahan seemed to have a bit of a thang for marble, as most of the buildings built during his reign are made of the stuff. It’s no wonder that at the time when he supposedly decided to built a second Taj on the oppositie side of the river (this time in black stone), his son banged him up in prison – no doubt it was to stop his Pa spending any more money on crazy buildings schemes.

This evening, after an enforced taxi driver stop at a shop to see Taj-esque marble inlays being made (and being fleeced of more money than I’d care to think about to buy said marble), I went to the theatre to see a musical version of the history behind the building.

Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take my camera into the theatre, but suffice to say there were lasers. And smoke machines. And a lot of terrible acting – it was like watching an Indian version of Flash Gordon, but with more glitter.

My FW chums will be glad to know the show’s given me plenty of inspiration for the noos revoo when I get back. I can really see us adding a jaunty musical number…

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