Agra Things to Do Tips by lynnehamman
Agra Things to Do: 625 reviews and 1,453 photos
The most marvellous book telling the real story of the Taj Mahal is called:
A TEARDROP ON THE CHEEK OF TIME
by Diana & Michael Preston.
Everything that one ever wishes to know about the Taj Mahal is here- the history, the construction, the court intrigues that were rampant during the Mughal Empire.
It is available in paperback, and has coloured photographs. And it chronicles the long & fruitful love affair & marriage between Shah Jehan and Mumtaz.
We all have stared at the Taj Mahal in awe- but how many of us REALLY consider the almost unbelievable task of the actual construction of this man-made marvel?. This book relates the facts- without getting technical & turgid. Well researched and beautifully written.
Its a fascinating account of the life & times also of the Mughal Emperor & his beloved Mumtaz.
I reccommend that everyone read this book after seeing the Taj Mahal
The technique of Pietra Dura decorating the Taj Mahal is very interesting.
Originating from Florence, this technique was imported into India during the reign of Emperor Jahangir (father of Shah Jehan) in the 17th century.
The technique involved complex setting of precious and semi-precious stones, such as Lapus lazuli, Carnelian, Turqouiseand Malachite.The stones were broken into slivers, and set into the marble base. Floral motifs (lilies,poppies,tulips and narcissus) were depicted as sprays, in arabesque patterns. The almost 3 dimensional appearance of the designs were created by using stones with varying degrees of colour. Black slate was also widely used.
Fine examples can be seen in the arched doorways and on outer walls of the Taj.
The colour is still glorious, and the Indian government has imposed strict rules regarding pollution in order to prevent further damage
So much has been said and written about the Taj Mahal. It is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. Despite its familiarity, the beauty took my breath away. I wondered what kind of love this was- what kind of man would create such perfection. The domes glow and turn different shades, reflecting the light.Even on the grey, overcast day that we visited,it seemed to shimmer.
Shah Jehan was a passionate man.Only passion and the grief that aged him overnight could have inspired him to build the most perfectly flawless architechural creation in the world. After the death of Mumtaz at the age of 39, the Shah was inconsolable. The court went into mourning for two years. A memorial to his beloved queen Mumtaz had to be erected.It was to be one that the world would never forget. The white marble domes have inspired poets and painters since the 17th century. Songs have been written and sung about it. And upon first gazing at it- one can never, ever forget it. Few can be unmoved by its beauty.
The location was chosen carefully- it had to be erected on the banks of the Yamuna, so that the emperor could gaze at it for the rest of his life. He died , imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, at the Red Fort. The Taj Mahal may have been one of the last things saw.
Work began in 1633. 20,000 workers laboured for 17 years to build it. The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across India and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. Coral from Arabia, Agate from the Yemen, garnets from Bundelkand, and onyx and amethyst from Persia decorate the pristine white marble. Koranic verses were carved into the marble.
(Mumtaz married Shah Jehan at the age of 21. A loyal and loving wife, she accomponied him on all his expeditions.She bore him 14 children, and died in childbirth while travelling with him).
Gardens and a water canal lead up to the Taj.The water of the pool reflects the white marble. They also compliment the beauty, and were designed with utmost attention.The banks of the River Yamuna was the perfect site.The day that we saw it, it was flowing gently.The security is very tight- for obvious reasons. Men and women are "frisked" separately. Shoes have to be removed on entering the mausoleum.Photography is not allowed inside the tomb area. Food or drinks are also not allowed inside, after passing the security check.
The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays
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