Wednesday, November 21, 2012

India # 37 One Morning at the Taj Mahal

The Taj

The Taj can speak for itself.  You already know it from a thousand pictures.  Here I provide some angles you might not have seen, a couple of visiting families and perhaps a feel for the early hours when mist still drifts through it from the river, white upon white.  The picture above is of the south gate through which the workers entered:  20,000 from all over the region completed the work in 22 years.
The classic approach.  Water represents the four rivers of paradise where the lovers will dwell.
A mosque to the left the Taj, like the gates in the local sandstone.

Another view looking from the Taj west to the Mosque...

Seen from the right side from within the visitors guest "house."

That the tower at the left is leaning this much is an optical illusion.  However the four towers do, in fact, lean outward so as to fall away from, not on, the mausoleum.  It is nearly 600 years old yet so precisely engineered that there have been no cracks or serious shifting, and it is built well above a river bank.  You get a sense of its size from this view.  All the enormous decoration is inlaid, stone in stone, some of it precious. The major damage over time has been from thieves taking the most valuable components.  It lay unattended for a long time but now is cared for by Muslim volunteers as well as the government.

Closer to the minaret....

A family of visitors takes a rest.

A substantial nest of large trees, never shown in typical photos, flanks the right side of the Taj.

The other side of Agra is a great deal of poverty.  This child's mother was begging with another child nearby.  The picture below, while attractive, could have been duplicated many times over in Bangalore:  a cow is grazing in the background in the garbage next to a clean,green sign.  People seem to enjoy taunting the government by dumping garbage next to clean and green signs.