||posted: Feb 24, 2013
So the day starts out with three hours in the car for a drive to Agra the city in which the Taj resides. The highway is exceedingly nice.
Upon arrival we swing through a run down dirt parking lot, all parking lots are run down and dirt, pavement ends at the side of the street, always. Anyways we pick up our tour guide from the side of the road and the rupees are exchanged and we’re off to the Taj.
We get advice from him as we approach: ignore the hawkers, say no thank you to the photographers, watch your wallet. and away we go.
The Taj Mahal is a whole set of buildings. There is an outer wall and courtyard where guards were stationed to prevent looting. Which worked until the city was conquered and then the Persians just looted wholesale.
Here’s some pictures of the outer courtyard.
Inside the outer courtyard, looking at the main
entrance to the inner courtyard where
the Taj Mahal resides.
A better look at the inner courtyard entrance.
We headed into the Taj proper and All I can say is that it was as beautiful as everyone says. I was reminded of some of the other great historical buildings I have seen, particularly the Blue Mosque and St. Peters in Rome. The weather was threatening rain all morning, but cleared up to be a very pretty day.
Her we got a glimpse of the Taj through the gateway
from the inner entrance
And here is a clear view of the Taj.
I’ve got a hundred pictures but these are a
few of the best.
So a few interesting things. Apparently because we booked through this tour we booked the VIP entrance for the Taj, which meant we went to the front of the line all the time. Pretty cool. Where most of the crowd went right and had to wind around the whole building, we went left and walked right in. I felt a bit guilty, but was also glad to get in so quickly.
The workmanship is unbelievable, all the marble is inlaid with precious stone flower patterns. Of course being Muslim, there is no portraits or statues, I would say that is the one thing lacking.
Here is a closeup of the inlay work.
Inside there were no cameras allowed. There are two tombs inside. Her tomb, the one the building was built for is exactly in the center. The Shah was buried 30 years later and his tomb is the only thing not symmetrical in the entire complex, his is off-center to the left as you enter.
So I got a tonne of photos, and could keep putting them up but I’ll leave you with this one.
Next was the Agra Fort. Built by the Taj Mahal dude’s grandfather. You can see one from the other.
Lot’s of pictures from there too, but I’ll leave you with a couple.
And looking the other way at the entrance. One thing to note that our guide told us, the gate was originally tall enough for the Shah to ride out of the entrance on top of an elephant and then when the British took over they shortened the outer gate by some 5 or 6 feet because, well, they didn’t ride elephants.
The royal apartments had a complex system of heating and cooling that involved pipes in the wall circulating cold or hot water pumped through by elephant power.
|Entrance to the Harem. The ladies stayed up in the balconies. ||Looking up in the balconies where the concubines were – 212 of them. |
The royal apartments.
The Royal prison where the Taj Mahal guy was imprisoned for the last seven years of his life by his diabolical son.
Stables in the outer courtyard. Notice they come in two sizes: small for horsies, big for Elephants.
Public receiving chamber. The tomb in the middle of the courtyard is an English Lt. Governor. and friend of Agra.
Again, I got a slew of photos, but I think that captures it well enough for now.
We finished up after that and our driver took us home.
I’ll end with a brief video of our drive out of Agra. Wild…