Despite celebrating the end of the Maharajah Marathon, the crews were up before the sunrise to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. at dawn so we can see it in its true splendour.
The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants.
The ivory-white marble mausoleum sits on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. It attracts 7–8 million visitors a year.
Returning to the hotel for breakfast, some crews decided to visit the Agra Fort, which was the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.
The rest of the crews had already headed to back to Delhi, some to the airport and the remainder to the Oberoi in Delhi, the final stop on the event. It was there we all said farewell as everyone prepared to depart the next day. However, there was one last celebration as we celebrated Joyce Acher’s birthday with champagne and chocolate cake.
With new friendships formed and emails swapped, it was time to head home and dream about our next adventure.