There are places you look forward to going to which disappoint, and there are places which exceed your expectations. The danger with dreaming about visiting a classic for as long as you can remember, is that the risk of disappointment increases. However, I am elated to report that The Taj Mahal is the most beautiful building I have ever seen. It surpassed my expectations by miles. Oh my goodness, it’s so gorgeous. Emotions tug in every direction. The setting, design, craftsmanship, materials and purpose are all perfect.

‘Exquisite’ was the best single word description I could conjure up to describe The Taj Mahal, but it is hopelessly inadequate really. The ivory white marble, sourced from all over India, still looks pristine today. Famously it reflects the colour of the early morning sun, so that is the time of day to go. The craftsmanship is also overwhelming. Black marble is inlaid throughout. So too are the beautifully soft and swirling arabic letters. Jewels were originally a feature of the building but all have been subsequently stolen. Thanks go to Lord Curzon in the mid nineteenth century for his decision to renovate where needed and upgrade the garden layout, especially the two lakes. They reflect the shape of the building and enhance your wonderment as you enter the site through an arched gateway.

I was the very first person in through the gates on 14th. August (2017), my reward for getting up at 4.30am. A guide rushed me around to the best photograph locations before anyone else got there. It was a real privilege. I later strolled around slowly, sitting and staring in awe.

The four minarets lean outwards, slightly. That's deliberate so that should they fall they will not damage the mausoleum.

Here’s an odd story to finish. Apparently there was a plan to build a ‘double’ on the opposite bank of the Yamuna River, in black marble. Time and events overtook the plan but not before much of the marble had been acquired. It is now in Trafalgar Square, London!

The Taj Mahal is included in the “7 Wonders of the World 2016” list. And so it should be.