Taj Mahal and Us
Legendary, ancient, awe-inspiring and deeply moving not only for its immaculate beauty and colossal size, but also for its representation of an undying love perpetuated in the grandeur of an exquisitely designed complex, the Taj Mahal's romantic appeal never grows old.
The finest example of Mughal architecture in India and the most famous of all monuments in the country, this 17th century UNESCO-listed marvel never ceases to amaze visitors. Not only because of the striking white marble mausoleum that majestically rises at the end of its grounds and, which is, undoubtedly the complex's ultimate masterpiece, but also in the perfection of the expansive manicured gardens that surround it.
A magnificent place calls for a magnificent entrance and on this front, the Taj Mahal certainly delivers. If you aren't gasping in awe at the colossal red sandstone arched gateway (or darwaza) as you enter it, you certainly will once you walk towards the mausoleum and look back. In the distance and with the addition of the central fountain and the perfectly lined cypress trees it makes for quite a breathtaking sight.
Up close and Yamuna River
The above photographs show the intricate detailing on the facade of the Taj Mahal's main building - the tomb. These views can only be appreciated after climbing the set of steps that take you to the top of the Taj Mahal. From here my colleagues were also able to take in magnificent river views that stretch as far as the eye can see.
There are no images of the tombs inside and that's only because in order to protect the white marble from the damage of the camera flashes; taking photographs in the dimly lit interior is strictly prohibited. It is true that some tourists, as my colleagues witnessed, overlook this repeatedly and take sneaky snaps, but our travel team was indeed very respectful of this rule in order to preserve this gem as immaculate as possible for many more travellers and years to come.
Outlying buildings - The Mosque
At the end of the Taj Mahal complex, located on either side of the main building stand two additional red sandstone buildings that mirror each other as they are virtually identical. One is a mosque and the other is a jawab (which literally translates as a building that mirrors a mosque) believed to have been constructed for aesthetic balance, although some say it may have served as a guesthouse.
Here we focus on the mosque, which is where our team ventured inside and took these magnificent photographs. You can appreciate the crenellated details on the walls, the striking succession of arches and the beautiful decorations carved on the walls.
Sunrise over the Taj Mahal
It's a well-known fact among expert photographers that the best pictures of the Taj Mahal are obtained either at sunrise or sunset. Knowing this our team planned around this to see the Taj Mahal in its best light. When sunset seemed undoable due to the packed itinerary, they vowed to get up really early the next day. As you can see in these last two photos, the images they obtained thanks to the soft early morning lighting proved that the early rising effort was more than worth it.