Guards at the Taj: A riveting tale of beauty and darkness of Taj Mahal

When one thinks about the Taj Mahal, one is just reminded of its beauty, an emperor who built the beautiful monument in memory of his wife or the architect who took 16 years and with help of 20,000 workers built one of the wonders of the world. 

Rarely would anyone associate it with guards. But that is exactly what the chilling dark comedy ‘Guards at the Taj’ revolves around.

Rajiv Joseph’s award winning play, which has garnered much appreciation world over, is getting rave reviews by critics and fans alike in Singapore too. Guards at the Taj takes the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions, as it explores beauty, duty, friendship, brutality and the adversities of human life – through the eyes of two imperial guards.

Two long-term friends, Humayun and Babur were tasked with standing guard at the Taj Mahal hours before it is to be unveiled at dawn. The Sacred Oaths of the Mughal Imperial Guards forbid them to look at the monument, speak or lower their swords. Punishments for civil disobedience can be serious, with the ultimate being death by elephant.

Of the two, Humayun was the obedient one, while Babur's endless babblings soon made events spiral out of control. As the play progresses, the guards were ordered to do the unimaginable and their friendship was tested to its limits.  

Guards at the Taj first premiered in New York in 2015, and has since attained international success. Jo Kukathas puts on her director's hat for this production by the Singapore Repertory Theatre, which stars Ghafir Akbar and Jay Saighal.

Connected to India speaks to the two stars Ghafir and Jay on their Taj experience, the connection they felt with the audience, as well as the new friendship forged.

The production runs till December 1, so if you have yet to catch it, get your tickets here before they run out!