Glorious Opulence
by Munia Khan

It was all about the luxury of death
The tomb was the centerpiece of a 42-acre-complex
It was a massive mesmerizing marble structure on a square plinth
guarded by a symmetrical building with an arch-shaped doorway
topped by a moony finial and a large dome —

The eternal resting place
of the Mughal emperor’s favorite wife!

I was standing at one of the balconies
of that 16th century ivory white marble house
by the Southern bank of river Yamuna,
taking pictures of the river
not as a tourist, but as an avid thinker who came from another country
thinking about the cultural diversities of that land
where the murmuring vein-like rivers
glittered by the ashes of the leaders’ dead bodies
and at the same time decorated with the love story
of legendary ruler by framing his wife’s grave on the river bank.

Today we, the travelers from all over the world
are indebted to Shah Jahan for leaving behind
this magnificent architectural dynasty
which reminds us, the mortals, of the immortality of love

Photo of the Taj Majal, Agra, India, by Jovyn Chamb on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During my first visit to India in March 2018, I traveled alone to see the Taj Mahal. This historical landmark is indeed one of the world’s architectural splendors — and this reminded me of the transitoriness of life, power, and wealth.

PHOTO: The author during her visit to the Taj Mahal in 2018.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Taj Mahal is a marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. The monument was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who reigned from 1628 to 1658, to house the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The construction project employed 20,000 artisans and cost 32 million rupees ($916 million in 2020 U.S. Dollars). In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” (Source: Wikipedia.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Munia Khan is a poet, author, and editor of multiple books and anthologies. She has authored seven books, which include collections of short stories, articles, poetry, and a nonfiction inspirational book titled Attainable. Her works have been translated into many languages, including Japanese, Romanian, Urdu, Italian, Dutch, Croatian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Albanian, Finnish, Greek, Indonesian, Turkish, Hindi, Bengali, and Irish, and have been published in anthologies, literary journals, magazines, and newspapers around the world. Visit her Amazon author’s page and find her on