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Mughal Masterpieces

by Coole Photography on May 21, 2012 Leave a comment

“Rabindranath Tagore described it as ‘a teardrop on the cheek of eternity’, Rudyard Kipling as ‘the embodiment of all things pure’, while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said it made ‘the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes’.” – Lonely Planet

Rather than try to describe the Taj Mahal myself, here’s a little extract from Lonely Planet followed by some of my favourite photographs from my visit:

“The Taj was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey virtually overnight. Construction of the Taj began the following year and, although the main building is thought to have been built in eight years, the whole complex was not completed until 1653. In total, some 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. Specialists were brought in from as far away as Europe to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura (marble inlay work) made with thousands of semiprecious stones. The Taj was designated a World Heritage Site in 1983 and looks as immaculate today as when it was first constructed.”

Tourists are no longer allowed to wander freely along the riverbank on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, but there is still a path leading down to the river where you can stand behind the fencing and see the Taj from a different angle. Sadly, the evening I had chosen to get my sunset shots was extremely hazy and in the end I left with not a single shot of the Taj, I did however take some photographs of a young girl carrying sticks on her head on the walk down to the river which for me made the whole journey out there worthwhile!

Although famous for the Taj Mahal, Agra has many other historic Mughal Empire sites worthy of a visit, sadly I only had time to choose one other and so off to Sikandra I headed. The Tomb of Akbar the Great is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece built between 1605 and 1613 and is set in 119 acres of grounds and the interior is absolutely stunning. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it, after his death Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction. It should be said that Akbar is considered to be one of the greatest emperors of his time.

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