Some moments in life that don’t live up to the anticipation, but your first sight of India’s Taj Mahal will not be one of them. Every time someone is photographed while visiting this amazing building, I’m taken right back to the moment when I stood there amongst the frenetic activity of India and found a moment of peace in its cool ivory marble exterior.

This building is every bit as impressive and wonderful as you have been led to believe and an amazing tribute from a man to the woman he loved.

That moment when I fell in love with India’s Taj Mahl

Kerry Heaney India's Taj Mahal

India’s Taj Mahal is a love story like no other

As I walked around this enormous building, our guide shared his version of the story behind its creation. Evidently, when Shah Jahan was 14 years old, he was walking through the local market. A strong wind blew through the market stalls, blowing aside the demure clothing of Mumtaz, a young girl serving on her father’s stall.

Blown away by Mumtaz’s beauty, Shah fell deeply in love, and romance blossomed between the couple. Although they both longed for marriage, Shah was the heir and promised to marry another. So he did, and then another wife before finally marrying Mumtaz.

They say it was a marriage of love, and the birth of 14 children is fairly good evidence that it was. Unfortunately, the birth of the 14th child resulted in Mumtaz’s death at 37. Shah was so distressed by her death that he decided to construct the Taj Mahal as a memorial.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal India Kerry Heaney
Famil group at Taj Mahal
Carving at Taj Mahal
Inside the Taj Mahal courtyard
Inside the Taj Mahal courtyard

How to get to the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, which is a four-hour, perhaps longer, depending on the traffic, drive from Delhi.  From The Leela Palace New Delhi, the driver took the expressway, a toll road less crowded than other routes. The locals were very surprised at how quick our journey was.

If you allow a full day for the tour, include a visit to the Red Fort in Agra and the tomb of Shaikh Chisti.

Staying in Dehli

The Leela Palace in Chanakyapuri is located in New Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave. It is a luxurious blend of royal Indian culture and modern architecture that will impress even the most jaded traveller. An independent hotel, The Leela was selected as a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts because it embodies the local culture of New Delhi and the romance of travel.

Visual splendour is everywhere, but even more apparent is the hotel’s hospitality, which works on the mantra that the guest is god.  It’s the first time anyone has offered to draw my bath, a service I foolishly rejected from my private butler. My biggest regret is not making time to indulge at either the spa or the rooftop swimming pool, which is comfortable at 26 degrees Celsius.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was hosted by Jet Airways, The Leela Palace New Delhi and The Leela Palace Bengaluru.  In Singapore, I stayed at The Fullerton Hotel.  All hotels are part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

More about travelling with Jet Airways 

The Leela Palace Dehli

The Leela Palace Delhi rooftop
The Leela Palace Delhi bedroom
The Leela Palace Delhi bathroom
Dining at The Leela Palace Delhi