Taj Mahal…..Love, Art and Culture personified

It is an epitome of love, a sheer poetry of passion, an artistic brilliance representing the ardour of love and the agony of lovers departed by the death and then commingled by the same. It is THE TAJ MAHAL.



Died in the fort of Asirgarh, the beloved wife of the fifth Mughal emperor- Mumtaj mahal was buried here years later.

Being a very non-romantic person, Taj was not on my “to-be-visited” list but being a student of history and a lover of beautiful monuments specially those representing the extravagant lifestyle of the Mughals; I had to visit the Taj. The architecture of the Taj is not only beautiful but also very unique and advance as compared to other structures of its era. On the entry from huge gate just before the Taj mahal, Taj looks as if it is floating in the sky and I thought I was the only one to experience that but going through many books regarding history, I got to know that it was the style adopted by its makers to make it look like that- floating in the sky as if it is a building that belongs neither to the earth nor to the sky. Turning around to see the interior part of the gate, I was glad to behold the incised work on the inner side of the red gate of sand stone and realized that it is something which cannot be ignored while entering the complex.



The fountain with bubbles of water in a straight symmetry in the center with the pathways both the sides leading to the tomb is imperial in its own way. Beautiful flowers and lush resembling green velvet carpet with red and grey stones on the pathway makes the whole experience very rich.

But the magnificence of this most beautiful building of India is experienced when you reach the main complex outside the mausoleum of Mumtaj Mahal-people coming from the huge main gate known as darwaza-i-rauza of sandstone with white marble, dome of Taj touching the sky, minarets on four sides of the main building, mosque on one side of the tomb and the building made for the pilgrims to rest-who would come to visit the mausoleum-on the other side….everything looks stupendous and spectacular.













But this is not enough; every inch of this structure tells the story of eternal love and every corner shows the beauty which doesn’t only have the random doodling and designing but has a meaning. The Persian verses in calligraphy on the marble walls around the entry door with black marbles inlaid are taken from the holy book of Quran.




The design of marble jali lattice and reflective tiles in and around the sarcophagus is ethereal.



Plant motifs here caught my special attention. They are designed as if are unfurling or swinging with the blow of wind. Flowers carved in the marble makes it clear that Shah Jahan wanted to make Taj mahal a replica of paradise on earth.












The intricate work is praiseworthy. The details of pietra dura jali inlay and intricate pierce work is spellbinding.






Filial on the top of the main dome also believed to be the tamga(stamp or seal) of the Mughal Empire which looks majestically grand and imperial in look must have made Taj look like a paradise in the sixteenth century with Koh-I-Noor atop of it.



In short, from the filial at the top in the form of tamga to the stones on the floor, every nook and cranny of the Taj is remarkably beautiful. Taj is not just a paragon of love but it is the love personified itself in the form of this beautiful white tomb. It is an epitome of exceptionally astounding prowess of the architect and the workers involved in making it as well as of their aesthetic sense.


All that I can say after visiting the Taj Mahal is that the archetypal beauty of Taj does not only compel us to praise it because it has a tragic quintessential love saga being told to us since centuries but also the effort and efficiency of the workers who left no stone unturned to make this monument of love the way it is and did their utmost in all the ways possible to fulfill the megalomania of a Mughal emperor. It is not only a love story which has made Taj a monument of love but also the other way round; it is this structure which has made the love of an emperor eternal and immortal and THAT probably is the reason why Taj Mahal is and SHOULD be visited by one and all- to experience an ethereal love story, to feel that two lovers and not an emperor and an empress are resting in peace here, to know how vulnerable we all are in front of love and death, to see how love can probably look if manifested in a form, to see the grandeur of the Mughal architects and workers and of course…..to feel the love in the air here…so pack your bags and get ready…to live the experience yourself and to feel the love.

Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s photography-www.facebook.com/Shekharsphotography001/


Agra fort-a glimpse of Mughal lifestyle

For 200 years, a single dynasty ruled the land of Hindustan and amazed the entire globe. Such was the magnificence and splendor of this dynasty that it left the shah of Persia far behind in the battle of riches and power. It was the dynasty of the warriors from the steppes beyond the Oxus River and the Hindukush mountain range. This was the dynasty of the great Moguls (aka the Mughals). The lineage or legacy of the Mughals might have faded in the history books and stories but the splendid wealth and rich lifestyle this great dynasty had had can still be seen with the colossal buildings they erected in the form of palaces, forts and even tombs. I experienced it myself when I visited the fort of Agra. Spread around some 94 acres of land, it is one of the most beautiful structures built by the moguls.



The moment we enter the main gate of the fort, we get the regal feeling with beautiful windows carved with red sandstones.




The broad pathway leading the visitors to the main courtyard which has the hall of public audience, diwan-e-aam, round the corner is the first major point which attracts all the eyeballs.



Made with exquisite engraving on white marble, it was the place where the emperor would hear all the proceedings and problems of his administration and subjects and deliver the justice. There is also a marble dais beneath the place where the emperor would sit.

On one of the floors above the ground of this stupendous heritage site is the chamber which was the private quarter of the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. When he was incarcerated in his quarters by his son Aurangzeb who was the sixth Mughal emperor, he would see the Taj Mahal made by him for his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal from here. This private chamber comprised of many doors and parts in it is very finely and delicately carved with the semi precious stones filling the vibrant colors in the walls and the ceiling.





Taj still can be seen beyond Yamuna from the windows and the balcony and terrace.




Ascending spiral pathways, I found myself on the rooftop where the hall of private audience, diwan-e-khaas, still tells the story of the architectural brilliance and Mughal magnificence. This was the place where many decisions of political significance were taken centuries ago.  The windows with delicate latticework or jharokhas with jali screens just above the place where Mughal emperor used to sit in front of audience was the place where women of royal family would sit and see the proceedings of the court. The thought that this is the place where Noor Jahan had been sitting in the reign of his husband the fourth Mughal emperor, Jahangir, really fascinated me. But no emperor or empress can be seen here now but the pigeons fluttering peacefully, sitting on the stone platform.



Next part of the fort I visited was the harem-private chambers of imperial women. This was the most beautiful part of the fort I had seen by then. The walls of the rooms have endured many ups and downs and it can be clearly seen as the walls are scratched from many places with plasters done while renovation at many places.










The ceilings in rooms are in quite same condition. But, even these drawbacks could not alter the beauty of these chambers and the brilliant Persian, Arabic, and Rajasthani style of architecture is majestically grand.


Walls inlaid with semi precious stones which were extruded by the Britishers can be seen with the paint done with gold. With time, renovation has changed the face of the walls a bit as the golden color here is not the original gold done by the architectures back then but done later by the efforts of different governments ruling the nation.




But the natural beauty is still intact and can be felt regally here even today.

The bathtub of Jahangir which he had used since his youth or probably childhood, made with a single piece of stone can be seen here in the courtyard outside the main one near the entrance.



There are many parts in the fort which were quite deserted and it can be seen with their condition that they are not frequently visited by the people.



The fort of Agra is sumptuous in its look telling the glorious past of Hindustan and the exalted lifestyle of the dynasty which has affected the Indian culture to such an extent that we still feel proud of it. The tradition and culture of this dynasty from cuisine to apparels, from drinks to jewellery has been commingled with our lives in the way that it seems it was never absent from it.




My experience while beholding this mighty & deluxe structure left me awestruck and took me back in an era in which the mighty Mughals had ruled this country and had astonished the world. This monument is a must visit for all the travel loving people who wish to have an experience different not only in look but also in the feeling which takes us back into the glorious past and rich history.

Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s photography-www.facebook.com/Shekharsphotography001/

Land of Braj-land of lord

Serenity, divinity, gods own abode…that’s what the holy Vrindavan dham is all about.  Though I don’t get words to describe what I feel like when I enter the town of Vrindavan, numerous feelings and thoughts strike my mind…a sense of calmness, feeling of being disconnected with the materialistic world and a divine ecstasy. Have a look at the beautiful abode of god named vrindavan with me…..

Actually the whole braj mandal which covers vrindavan Mathura barsana, nandgaon, gokul, mahavan as its chief divine places is great in its look. I started my jaunt with the heart of brajvrindavan!

Madan Mohan temple which is at the walking distance from the most famous-banke bihari temple, is the most primitive temple in vrindavan. Like many other places, photography of the deities was forbidden-hence the building of the temple.



It is located on a hillock which is indeed a vantage point to look at the pilgrims from the temple premises.

Next was of course the Banke Bihari temple-the most crowded and revered temple of the town where I was jostled to an extent that I neither had an opportunity to click the picture of Thakurji, nor was it allowed.  Nevertheless, I was appeased when I left the temple vicinity both because I had got a pious glimpse-an auspicious sight of thakurji and was free from the jostling crowd. I would be betraying myself if I say I didn’t fall for the famous pedes-sweet made with khoya and sugar-of the narrow alley in which Banke Bihari temple is located.



The quality time I spent relaxing while boating was the best experience I had had in the town. The sun-looking like an orange ball-was sinking in the west glinting gold and the green water of Yamuna looked more serene than anything I have witnessed with the aarti on the banks I could see and hear on Keshi Ghat.




Next day, I headed towards Nandgaon-a town, some 50 kilometers away from vrindavan. Located on a hilltop, the main temple of Nandgaon is a beautiful one made of white stone. In striking contrast with the temple walls and floor, the deities are of black marble.  It was a very different experience and feels as if the world has stopped here as the lifestyle of people here is very simple and pristine in look.

Gokul, a small village with a temple at the location where it is said the home of lord Krishna was located is a beautiful and very tranquil place with the playground at the entrance of the temple which is believed to be the playground of lord Krishna and Balram in the Dwapar Yug some 5,500 years ago. Many idols depicting various scenes or incidents of shree Krishna’s life in different small chambers were lively as well as vivid to beautify the real incidents happened on this land.




Barsana- how is it possible for anyone to visit braj and not visit the hamlet of the most beloved consort of lord Krishna- shree Radha. Only few kilometers away from Nandgaon, Barsana as well is located on a hilltop which is a vantage point to see the whole village.


After Barsana, I headed towards vrindavan again as my day trip was over and the sun was started to sink beneath the horizon and the chill yet soothing air was making me relaxed after the daylong tottering from one location to another. I was happy and above everything else was satisfied after having a day full of visiting places which were not only religious but also full of positivity and the special feature which was the locations’ speciality to take me back in time of lord Krishna where I could literally see him with Balram, his parents, his friends, his beloved brijwasis and….his most beloved divine consort-shree Radharani.

Pictures courtesy- Except last two, all the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s photography-www.facebook.com/Shekharsphotography001/