I was the first person at the ticket window when it opened at 6am. Once inside the gate I lingered briefly along the pathway to the portal that frames the Taj Mahal itself. I wanted a little more light before I encountered the view.
Birds in the trees that lined the tiled path were warbling musically to each other. The air was calm. The heat of the day had not yet intruded. A fountain splashed water on the flowers at its base.
As I passed through the portal, I saw a couple who had preceded me by a few minutes. They were on the raised marble platform that is halfway between the portal and the still higher platform of the Taj itself.
There was not one person between them and the monument.
For that moment, and forever thereafter too, they owned the Taj Mahal. Click on the photo below to see what I saw.
The sun was still ten minutes below the horizon of trees to the right. But there was enough light to capture the scene. Click on it to see the full-sized view from which it is cropped.
After the crowds behind us had pressed forward to the monument, after the intimacy of the moment was gone, I spoke with them. They are from Chicago’s North Shore. They were celebrating a wedding anniversary that I might have been marking with someone had things gone differently.
Yes, I envied them. They have seen a Taj Mahal I will never see.