My Taj Awakening


It’s 6 am and my sleepy eyes and sore travelling feet are awake. This early rise is the beginning of our extraordinary journey to the Taj Mahal.

Much to my disbelief, purchasing entrance tickets is an adventure all on its own. Those tourist groups that have an Indian guide find it an everyday occurrence to push through the lines of anxious travelers to get to the front of the pack. They get their tickets without the slightest glance at the other hundreds of people at the gates. For us, it takes time and patience.

Sunrise is approaching. We finally have our tickets but are disappointed to see there will be more waiting. Multiple lines of tourists appear however the division of lines is odd; one for the men, and one for the women which is an unusual sight to a Canadian. We watch our male companions speed through their line-up. Only one female guard is at the entrance waiting to search our purses and take our tickets.

Another female tourist accuses my mother-in-law of budding in. She screams profanities at us and nearly pushes us right out of line. Our male companions are no where to been seen, they’ve been in the gate for almost an hour. A young woman walks by us and is pushed into line by a man that is with her. We kindly remind her that “the end of the line is back there”. Her husband overhears and is filled with rage. He points his finger at us, swears and declares “my wife is pregnant and she will not be waiting in this line-up”. She turns around embarrassed and we realize she is well into her pregnancy. We immediately feel bad for her because it is so obvious that she is tearful and afraid.

It’s our turn at the gate. But I’m so distracted, that for a moment I forget where I am.

We meet the rest of our patient tour group and I receive a comforting hug from my husband. He smiles and reminds me we’re about to enter one of the 7 wonders of the world.

The next few moments pass in slow motion. The sun is in the perfect spot just above us and shines an exquisite shadow as the gates open. The entrance is like a halo and the huge massive structure ahead of us glows white. We walk towards it in peace because there are no words. This is something you can only see for yourself. Your imagination is not vivid enough to paint an accurate picture of something this wonderful.

I shake my head when I think back to the memory of that day. The awe of the Taj Mahal is so much larger than those frustrating and unimportant minutes before we entered. I can’t help but smile when I realize how fortunate I am to have been there, and I wouldn’t change a single thing that happened the day of my Taj Awakening.

J MacKay

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