Sunday, May 20, 2012

Culture Corner: The Architecture of Agra

While the Taj Mahal rightfully hogs Agra’s glory, there are more worthwhile sites in the area to be seen.   The city itself forgettable, Shah Jahan and other moghuls before and after erected not only the Taj, but several other glorious tombs, as well as a huge fort, later converted into a palace.  But I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
Its real name Itimad-ud-Daulah, most people just call it the “Baby Taj”.  The details of its stonework often more intricate than the father’s, this 'little' tomb was blessedly void of tourists and could be examined at leisure.
Some of those details.  Truly sublime.
 A carved marble screen.
Another detail.  The stonework is phenomenal, each little piece having to be hand carved and fit into place.
Yours truly standing in front of the Baby Taj, ready to compare it to the granddaddy.
This is a portion of the Red Fort, another Unesco World Heritage site in Agra well worth the distinction.
Called a palace by most, the Red Fort was also a prison for Shah Jahan in the final years of his life.  Though unable to be seen here, his view from the windows was of his home after death: the Taj Mahal.  I suppose his immediate surrounds--the harem, menagerie of exotic animals, dried fruits and nuts, etc.--were enough to ignore that little constant reminder...
Only dreams can be more exotic...
Even the gratuitous postcard view is almost surreal.
The Taj is worth every word of praise heaped upon it.
The colors of women’s saris against the white marble was fantastic--the only place in India such a clean contrast could be made!
Sorry, couldn’t resist one more--the sunset view!

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