As an architect, I would have been flogged if I had not seen the Taj Mahal while in India. It is, in fact, a beautiful building (exhibit A below). The proportions are lovely, the white marble catches the light throughout the day, and the botanical patterns of inlaid semiprecious stone (exhibit C below) are amazing, especially considering they are done by hand.
It is also a monument (see the bajillions of Indian tourists, exhibit B below) and a mausoleum and in this respect, it failed to move me. I am more touched by being in a building in which history occurred than I am by being in a building intended to evoke something.
Don't get me wrong: I loved seeing the Taj Mahal and the buildings and grounds surrounding it. I also experienced some odd emotional effects (almost as if imposed from the outside). I am very glad I have seen it. It did not, however, inspire me.
The Taj Mahal soon after sunrise (note the lack of tourists):
The Indian tourists on the plinth (note the bare feet, we had to take off our shoes to get on the plinth and into the Taj Mahal itself):
The exquisite inlay (my favorite part of the Taj Mahal was the inlay):
The Taj Mahal through the trees at the sides of the grounds:
The Taj Mahal later in the day (note the tourists):