Thursday, March 27, 2008

Agra - India

Photo: The Taj from Agra town

Photo: The sandstone gateway at the southern end of the Taj Mahal

Photo: Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Photographer: Kim Lau

Photo: Taj Mahal - Agra - India

Photo: Arched walkway at Agra Fort

Photo: Agra Fort - India


Photo: Taj Mahal Agra from Agra Fort

Photo: Taj Mahal - Agra - India

A good place to visit in Agra City – India is Taj Mahal. It locates in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh It is an gorgeous place which was built for love. It is situated on the bank of the river Yamuna.

Love affair
Taj Mahal is a mausoleum. It is built up in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, a second wife of Emperor Shahjahan. She died after giving birth to their 14th child. Mumtaz Mahal is also a Muslim Persian princess.

In 1607 when Shahjahan was not yet a king, but a prince, he met her in Meena Bazaar. But then he got married. The first wife he married to was not her. In those days princes did not marry just for love.

In 1612, he married Mumtaz Mahal when he was 20 years old and she was at her age of 19. She stayed loyal by his side through good and even bad time. They sometimes live in the luxurious royal palaces sometimes in the transient tents of war camps. Her love to him completely won the heart of the prince.

In AD 1628, Khurram became king after a bloody battle of succession.

In 1631, Shahjahan went on an expedition to the south and, as always, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied him. She died when accompanying her husband in a campaign to crush a rebellion. When she died, she was just 39 years old. Shahjahan was inconsolable and contemporary chronicles tell of the royal court mourning for two years. there was no music, no feasting, and no celebration of any kind.

As she lay dying, she asked the emperor for four promises: first buiding the Taj Mahal, second that he should remarry, third being kind to their children, fourth visiting the tomb on her death anniversary. The first promise is why the Taj Mahal was constructed.

It is one of the most flawless architectural constructions of the world. The mausoleum began in 1633. 20,000 workers contributed in the building for 17 years. The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across Indian and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. The master mason was from Baghdab, an expert in building the double dome from Persia, and an inlay specialist from Delhi.

For centuries, the Taj Mahal has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in word, colour and song. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. Since the 17th century, travellers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love, and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty.

Beauty of Taj Mahal during Day
The Taj Mahal shows a different aspect of beauty at different times of the day. The sight of the Taj awash with the subtle pinks of dawn is an unforgettable sight. Sunsets stain the Taj an exotic shade of orange. But nothing beats the poignant beauty of the Taj seen when the cool white marble is bathed in the soft silver light of the moon. Even in the bright light of the day, this wonder of the world shines with an awe-inspiring loveliness.
The glory of the monument is strangely undiminished by the crowds of tourists who visit each day, as small and insignificant as ants in the face of this immense and captivating monument. That said, the Taj is at its most alluring in the relative quiet of early morning, shrouded in mists and bathed with a soft red glow. As its vast marble surfaces fall into shadow or reflect the sun, its colour changes, from soft grey and yellow to pearly cream and dazzling white; it's well worth visiting at different times. This play of light is an important decorative device, symbolically implying the presence of Allah, who is never represented in anthropomorphic form.

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