9th January, 1936
A visit to the Taj Mahal (one of the seven wonders of the world) by daylight – this has to be seen to be appreciated, built entirely of white marble by Emperor Shah Jehan as a tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Commenced in 1631 and completed by 20,000 workmen in 1648 at an unknown cost. It was the Emperor’s idea to have a black marble tomb built for himself on the other side of the river Jumna and connect it with his wife’s tomb by a solid silver bridge. He however only laid some of the foundations, which are still to be seen, when he was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzebe for squandering money. He remained in prison until his death, and his body now rests alongside that of his wife inside the Taj Mahal. From there we visited the Fort within which are the Palaces and the Pearl Mosque – all wonderful architecture, carving and inlaid marble. Certainly if the old rulers were credited with being extravagant they kept the people employed. Only the most skilled workers were paid – the rest got their food only. We in England have spent many times more than these wonderful buildings cost in unemployment and other benefits and have nothing to show for it. These old Indian Rulers left something behind to make the world wonder how it was done. A drive across the Jumna to visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula a most wonderful building. Lord Curzon, when he was Viceroy, did a great work in preserving and restoring these ancient buildings. Another visit to the Taj for Mac to try and get a photo by moonlight and he was successful.