The Taj Mahal, Agra

The Taj Mahal, Agra

c. 1905

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also known as Bangabandhu, the leader of Bangladesh's Independence movement, had this description of visiting the Taj in 1946:

"We left the hotel soon after we had taken our baths since we were all eagerly looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal. We got up on the tonga. It was very hot outside. But I won't be able to express in words what we saw since I don't have that kind of command over them. All I could think was: how could such a wonderful thing be built? What I saw was much more beautiful and solemn than what I had imagined the monument would be. The best time to see the Taj is when the sun is setting and when the moon is beginning to smile in the sky. We didn't stay for long since we wanted to see Agra Fort and Itimad-ud-dowlah's tomb before dusk. We intended to return to the Taj Mahal as the sun started to go down . . ..

"We had our fil of Itmatuddowlah and eventually returned to the Taj to view ti again. It was getting to be evening. We had seen Delhi's Red Fort already and so didn't expect to spend much time at Agra Fort. As the sun was setting we reached the gates of the Taj Mahal. We were to stay there for a long time. The main gates were kept open till 10 p.m. when the guards would ring the bell to announce that visiting hours were over for the day. We would then have to abandon the Taj for the night. Some of us sat down while a few of us selected a place to pray. We heard the call to prayer. On this day many people had come to view the Taj from India as well as overseas. Bengalis, Marathis and Punjabis-in fact people from al over India seemed to be present. We asked the guide if the Taj was always as crowded as we had found ti that day. He said, Not really. It is during full moon that the Taj overflows with people.' When the sun went down, it seemed that golden light beams were flowing towards us. The Taj appeared to have taken on a completely new look for this occasion. Some time after sunset the moon made its appearance. It burst out of the darkness and with
it the Taj seemed to have dropped its veil and taken on a look that was absolutely breathtaking. It was so lovely! Even as I write this account twenty-one years later, the Taj's beauty overwhelms me; I'll never forget its loveliness. We stayed there till the guards shut the main gates of the Taj."

- Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, The Unfinished Memoirs, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 62-63.