On a balmy August afternoon in southern India, I sit at the top of a boat that has been converted into a sightseeing tour boat.
As we wait to be boarded, a group of tourists – who were visiting the Taj – join us.
As the boat begins to turn around, it is obvious that this is not a normal sightseeing trip, and that it is not safe to go there.
The tourists all have Indian accents and they seem nervous.
As we approach the Taj, the tourists begin to cry.
This is because the Taj is in fact the Taj of the Tajaland, an area of Tajikistan that is currently under siege by the Taliban.
A video of the incident, filmed by an Iranian journalist in 2012, shows an angry mob surrounding the Taj.
“The Taj has been destroyed,” the mob is heard yelling.
“It was the biggest, most beautiful building in Tajik history!”
A young girl, who is being held hostage by the mob, screams: “Please, let the Taliban go!”
As the Taj and the surrounding area are being overrun by Taliban fighters, I ask the young girl who is still crying: “Why don’t you come back and live here?”
“It is so dangerous in Afghanistan,” she replies.
“We want to leave.”
The Taliban are holding over 1,000 people hostage, including many women and children, according to the United Nations.
One of the passengers on board is Nader Abdulla, a student from the city of Lahore, who arrived in India on an official visa.
Abdulla says he was scared for his life as a young man when he first arrived in the Indian city of Jaipur, but was able to return to his hometown.
Now, he has been living in Jaipuri for two years, as a refugee, with a permanent residency permit.
In the past, the Taj was a favourite spot for visitors to the Taj Mall, a famous shopping mall in the heart of the city.
But in 2014, a small Taliban insurgency began to take hold there.
Since then, the mall has been heavily guarded by security forces.
I ask Abdullas what he makes of his life now.
He tells me he is “happy to be back in Jaispor” – a term used to describe the surrounding areas.
When I ask him what he wants to see in Jaisalmer, he says: “It is not only the Taj but the other buildings, the city and the people.
It is important for us to go back to the world, to India, because there is no future for us here.”
A number of foreign journalists have taken a boat trip to Taj Mahals.
According to an article in The New York Times, Taj Mahalls in India are often overcrowded, with large crowds of foreign tourists.
Tourists from the United States, China, Russia, Germany and other countries have also taken to the boats.
What is Taj Mahall?
The Taj Mahalla, named after its original architect, is a 13-storey building in the city, located at the edge of a hillside overlooking the Indian capital.
It is the world’s tallest building, and is located on the edge to the city’s main thoroughfare, the New Delhi metro.
For tourists, Taj is a place of wonder, where you can see the Taj’s magnificent towers, the Ganges and the Taj Khali.
On its outskirts lies the Taj Hills, a massive complex of buildings that include hotels, shops, theatres, theatrically themed theatres and hotels.
The Taj Mahalis are a favourite attraction for foreign visitors.
Taj Mahals is not the only city in India to host a sightseer boat tour.
Last year, a Chinese woman from Guangzhou and her husband travelled from Nanjing to Kolkata, India, to view the Taj at the height of the summer monsoon season.
While the Taj sits at the heart a beautiful city, it has also been a place for the Taliban to attack, and has been a target for attacks by Pakistan, which has claimed responsibility for many attacks on the Taj in the past.
Indian media have reported that several people have been killed and more than 200 injured during the recent attacks.
Some of the visitors who have taken part in this sightseeing cruise have not been able to leave the Taj on the tour boat, as it has been locked down by the Afghan army and local authorities.
However, one of the women aboard the boat has managed to escape.
She is the daughter of a prominent businessman from Kolkatta, India.
We are now boarding the boat, and we are happy to go to the top.