25.2.08

the taj mahal

The Taj Mahal is an extraordinary complex of mausoleum, guest house, mosque and gardens, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. To miss the crowds, I arrived at 6 am by rickshaw as the last two miles surrounding the Taj Mahal is not open to cars. The air pollution here in Agra, as in most congested areas of India, is extreme, but cannot detract for me from the overwhelming and mystic, if also somewhat cryptic beauty of this monument of love for a lost wife.

In the 1630s, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan wanted to build a perfect memorial to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal after she died giving birth to their 14th child. He employed twenty thousand workers, and a thousand elephants to complete the structure, which still reflects the greatest talents of Persian design.
The main focus is the white marble tomb (photography is prohibited inside) which has a spectacular marble dome. At the corners of the plinth stand four minarets, each more than 40 metres tall, and perfectly symmetrical. Because of the Islamic prohibition on the depiction of human forms, the Taj Mahal is decorated with flower and leaf motifs (inlaid with semi-precious stones), geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy which depicts passages from the Qur'an.
The garden is meant to symbolize paradise. In contrast to the white marble of the tomb, the mosque, guest house and gatehouse are made of dark, red sandstone.

15 comments:

j said...

Absolutely fanciful and handsome. It gives me a chill. I get the same reaction seeing the statue of David in person.

The New Look said...

Those photos are beautiful.I long to go to far away places and take pictures of everything I see.

HF said...

These photos are amazing.
They make me want to go to India.

Big time.

simplyolive said...

WOW!! your photos are stunning!

Anonymous said...

Great picures and commentary on India. We are a fashion network, with an India office too. If you have some time, do go southwards and learn about Indian textiles in the mysore Kanchivaram belt.

Regards

Kartik

http://fashionnetworking.blogspot.com

ClavdiaChauchat said...

I love the patterns you've captured in your pictures ... they really emphasize the wonder in human creations and how decorative our world really is.

And thank you for your kind wishes on my site!

Gillian Young said...

Beautiful, beautiful India posts! My friend is hoping to go to India this year but is unsure about traveling alone, how did you go about your travels?

Love the photos and colours!

x
G

Bobble Bee said...

This makes me dream...
How romantic to arrive to a place like this so early in the morning, when the sun is still rising... <3

bowerbird said...

beautiful!

Prêt-à-Porter P said...

u got some amazing photographs.

ive always wondered are prayers held inside or is it purely a tourist attraction now?

la femme said...

Thanks for all of the comments.

gill: I really wouldn't recommend traveling alone as a woman in India. Assaults and rapes are a serious problem in the cities. I was with my mom and we still got unpleasantly harassed on an hourly basis.

bobble bee: Yes, it was pretty magical...

p-a-p p: There seemed to be as many pilgrims as tourists. Tens of devout Hindus were praying there by 7 am (they don't have to pay the entrance fee either).

Robyn Burns said...

So, I'm Gillian's friend off to India this December. Your posts are remarkable and your photos - oh my - no words. I just can't wait to see it all. I'm doing an organized trek (Gecko Tours), but now I will have a male travel companion with me.

Did your time there open up your world even more?

I've linked to your blog. You have a beautiful writing style, very inspirational.

All the best and safe travels.

adelyn said...

these photos are gorgeous! that was smart - getting up so early and beating the crowds. so are you just free enter the grounds and wander around at such an early hour? i thought there was an admissions price? i've never been but your photos make me want to hop on a plane right now.

Margarita said...

wow, stunning. the taj mahal looks like a total dream.

Anonymous said...

It is so beautiful! Such a feast for the eyes!
Sonja A