You’ve undoubtedly seen images of the Taj Mahal many, many times. Still, nothing can quite compare you for your first real-life glimpse of this marvelous mausoleum.
With pure excitement that morning, I woke up with the roosters, determined to arrive before thousands of additional visitors joined me. It was my first visit to India.
After I passed through the Taj’s turnstile, I sat on a bench in front of the reflecting pool, simply watching how the light changed the marble’s color. From a shrimp-colored morning glow, to a bathed-in-sunlight look, it was magnificent.
I didn’t always have such a romantic — or let’s face it, authentic — perception of this great monument to love, though. In reality, I once confused the Taj Mahal with a monument to maize.
When I was eight years old, my parents and I, accompanied by our German friends, embarked on a trip to the Western United States. We stopped at Yellowstone Park and Mt. Rushmore. And eventually, we made it to Mitchell, South Dakota, the home of the Corn Palace.
Originally built in 1892 to showcase the fertile South Dakotan soil, the Corn Palace and its myriad corn-adorned murals still lives on today. With domes and pointed towers, its architecture is just slightly reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. At least in the eyes of an eight-year-old.
After touring the palace of a corn sort, I later saw a picture of India’s gem. I excitedly remarked to my mother, “Look, look. It’s the Corn Palace!”
Elements of that childhood blunder were with me that day in India, as I marveled at the Taj Mahal — especially as the sun turned the white marble into a golden hue reminiscent of the South Dakota palace devoted to corn. :)
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.