Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Taj Mahal


Taj Mahal
We were traveling from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to Delhi (Capital of India) by road. On the way I thought I might get down at Taj Mahal and visit it, I was eager to find out what the whole fuss was about Taj Mahal.
  
I had been to Taj Mahal before during a college trip and I had experienced its magnificence, so I knew what the fuss was all about. Ranjit, being all into architecture and always watching and reading documentaries about monuments, probably knew a lot more than I did but he hadn't experienced its beauty.


Roads in Madhya Pradesh are like hills and valleys; I mean you can find holes in the middle of the road where you can plant trees or even bury people because I think you can probably find some which is 6 feet deep. Agra is about ¼ way from Delhi, which was kind of a rest stop for us, it’s about 125kms from Gwalior (4hrs if you drive like me) and about 215kms from Delhi (7hrs if you drive like me, I drive slow, I think probably an old man on wheelchair can race me) once in Uttar Pradesh, your back can finally rest in peace for the roads are much better. It’s a straight road all the way to Delhi and no chances of getting lost unless you’re blind.

A guide from near Taj Mahal hopped into our car (Ranjit was slowing down to ask for directions) a young and savvy looking guy. The guide gave us directions through "galis" (narrow streets) and I was suddenly reminded of Slumdog Millionaire (A movie, where the guide makes the visitor park the car by a secluded place and strips the car to piece while he shows the visitors around). Our guide too spotted a vacant lot, close to the Taj Mahal, for us to park the car. I was on my nerves and was sure that when we get back the car would be on concrete blocks, Ranjit (who hadn't watched the movie then) somehow convinced me otherwise and we moved on. It turned out that we were parked much closer to one of the gates of Taj Mahal and didn't have to walk much. 

We had to pay for covers on our shoes and some Rs 20 for entry fee. Last time I was in Agra, the weather was really hot and we had to remove our shoes and our feet's were burning. Therefore, this time I did not partake of my shoes. But luckily for us it had rained throughout morning and the sky was still a bit cloudy and the weather was just right for us.

As I entered the garden through the gate I realized I was finally here. 

The Great Gate (Darwaza-I Rauza)
The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads "O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you."

Gateway to the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal took me by surprise, I am sure my wife was looking around for places to shop and I was happy to keep her bounded inside of its walls. 

But finally, I did manage to shop or to be precise window shop. Thanks to our guide, who insisted we check out these shops, even if we don't plan on buying anything, a guy in the shop explained how inlay work is done. They showed us a display of items ranging from small boxes to huge wall hangings and trays made of marble with beautiful inlay work of stones. It sure did look tempting, but were way too expensive. Ranjit thanked his stars that I didn't find anything useful. 

Southern view of the Taj Mahal
"A beautiful tomb built by great king"


The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum . It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.” Its construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including Abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

Us at Taj Mahal

Calligraphy on large Pishtaq

Main Iwan

View of Mosque or Masjid from Jali

Cenotaphs, interior of Taj Mahal

Minaret

Taj Mahal Mosque or Masjid

Plant Motifs

Copy of Finial on the ground

Taj Mahal Mosque or Masjid

Garden

After all the lesson I learned from my guide and all the pictures we took (Actually our guide was the one taking all the picture, would not let go of the camera), it was time for us to leave, so hoping my car was still in one piece I walked away, turning one last time to look at Taj Mahal. I felt happy thinking about it, it was built out of love by Shah Jahan for the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. On completion of it, he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb; he then spent the rest of his days staring out of the window of Agra Fort at his beloved wife’s tomb until his death. On his death, he was buried by her side to be together forever.




"It’s a beautiful love story"


2 comments:

  1. Beautiful nd breathtaking pictures... reminds me of the day we were there ... !!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Just happened to visit your site. Great post. Fabulous series of pics on The Taj.Nice narration. Can't remember when I last visited the Taj ! Thanks for the amazing visual tour.

    ReplyDelete

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