TAJ MAHAL BY MOONLIGHT – communing with a chief’s ghost, 1976


[If I thought the Taj Mahal was romantic by daylight, I was completely captivated by seeing it under moonlight – and lucky too, for we had arrived on the final night’s viewing for that month.  My Chief, Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, (who had journeyed to India as a girl in Victorian times and who had died while I was on my trip) had filled me with expectation at seeing the Taj floodlit by the moon.  I scraped together enough rupees to go in again, and felt the presence of my chief as I stepped through the dark.  It’s hardly surprising that I’ve used the setting in my new novel OVERLANDERS.]

Walked down to Taj Mahal after dark – 10 of us.  From archway couldn’t see any moonlight on it (this was 4th day after full moon and last night it was open).  Anyway, paid last rupees to get in!

From inner archway could see right side of dome lit by moon and sides of minarets.  Slight reflection in still tank too.  All the same, the atmosphere was really romantic and still.  Sat on steps watching dark shape in the moonlight.  Then wandered round to side of mausoleum and saw all of the side lit up by moon – really beautiful.

Several rowdy voices shouting out in the night – whole troop of tourists arrived.  So I’ve made it!!  (Remembered Chief’s description of it when she was a girl).”

Me leaning against the Taj Mahal, 1976

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