The Taj Mahal Experience

The Taj Mahal Experience

So we hopped a rickshaw or Tuk Tuk to the gates of the Taj Majal.  We went early to beat the crowds but still some crowds.  You walk through the main gateimage

into a beautiful open garden area with the long pond you see in the pictures that leads up to the the Taj image

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra.

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal. The river is on the backside of the building. The detail and the marble is equisite.  They are constantly renovating it. image

I will post some photos from my cell phone here but the best photos are in Hal/Sanjay’s big camera back in Delhi.

The next day we got up at the crack of dawn to catch the sunrise over the backside of the Taj which sits on the river. These were the best shots and the most beautiful views.image

An old boat house to the left a part of the property in years past and to the right another building, probably a guesthouse or servants quarters of sorts.  The pictures will tell the story.image

We also visited the Baby Taj, another tomb. This small tomb, across the Yamuna river from the town of Agra, looks like a jewel box.  The tomb, was built in the 1620s, for the father of Jahangir’s wife (and grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal) and illustrates a progression from earlier Mughal mausoleums, built from red sandstone with marble decorations, (such as as Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra) – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most fully realized in the Tāj Mahal.  image

Baby Taj- As with all of these tombs, the symmetry of the gardens and outbuildings is of key importance, as are the criss-crossing watercourses, which signify the Persian origins of the designers and their clients.

  • We also visited the Agra Fort.  imageWith the Taj Mahal overshadowing it, one can easily forget that Agra has one of the finest Mughal forts in India.  Here we are walking across the drawbridge to the entrance. The moat Which is right under the bridge surrounds the Fort and in the past was full of crocodiles for the protection of intruders.  Construction of the massive red-sandstone fort, (which you can see the red in the photos) on the bank of the Yamuna River, was begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565.  Further additions were made, particularly by his grandson Shah Jahan, using his favourite building material – white marble.  The fort was built primarily as a military structure, you can still see remains of the cannons.   The Shah Jahan transformed it into a palace, and later it became his gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658 and claimed him mentally unstable.  The Fort is Magnificent with these colossal marble pillarsimage image

imageIn This picture you can see the view of the Taj Mahal across the river.  Absolutely beautiful and so much history of wars and takeovers.

After sweet Agra we took a taxi to Vrindevan the home of Krishna. To be continued.


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