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/

Jaipur-heart of Rajasthan


The standing hillocks strongly reciting to me the glory of the past welcomed me to the most colorful destination of India- Rajasthan, the moment I realized I entered the pink city- Jaipur!

The monument with which I embarked my excursion of the city was much famous-HAWA MAHAL-palace of winds. Erected with the pink and red sandstones, hawa mahal is constructed near city palace to connect it with the Zenana-women’s quarters. No doubt it is very finely made with small windows so that the women could see the festivities and celebrations on the street without being seen by others.



The exquisite latticework used in the jharokha-small windows were not only used by women to witness the life on street but also worked-and still works- as an air conditioner for the whole courtyard and rooms inside, alike. The very first thing I witnessed when I entered the main gate and took a round was the rock with inscription telling all about the palace in brief.



Inside the courtyard was the beautiful fountain which would stop the flow of water after every few minutes.





Going upstairs, the rooms with red, blue, green and yellow glass windows are regal enough to prove the lifestyle of the Rajputs. The view of Amer fort from the terrace of the palace is enough to rouse the anticipation to visit it as soon as possible to witness its grandeur.



Coming back to the courtyard on ground floor, there were small shops having things Rajasthani in style to offer like that of these jaipuri-mojari-chappals.



But what grabs the attention here is the temple of goverdhan nath, up only by some 8 to 9 stair.



The photography of the deities- shree Krishna-in the temple is forbidden though the paintings on the walls are open for appreciation.









City Palace- the yellow-red colored palace with magnificence worth watching is near the hawa mahal. The snake charmer just inside the main gate garnered not only mines but all the tourists’ attention.



The grand diwan-e-aam, diwan-e-khaas, Mubarak mahal, Chandra mahal and sabha niwas are beautiful and cleanly made- enough to take you back in the time. There are many parts of the palace such as sabha niwas and the room with the arms and ammunition where photography is prohibited but all you can see there is something you cannot forget for the lifetime.





Small canon in the courtyard near diwan-e-aam and outside the sabha niwas is just a symbol of how the bravery and the richness of Rajputs must have been in the medieval India.



On the other side of the palace the decorated camels and horses with richly colorful and embellished saddles and few drummers few yards away still makes it easy for tourists to get drenched completely in the colors of Rajasthan.





After visiting all the parts opened for visitors, on my way back to the main gate, the puppet-show was started which on my entrance was not.






Amer fort- located on the high hill, the serpentine like zigzag pathway leads to the main gate of the Amer fort. The biggest tourist attraction of Jaipur has many things to offers to tourists, from colossal Ganesh pol entrance of architectural brilliance to the historical grandeur of the sheesh mahal. The Ganesh pol, as the name suggests has an alluring image of lord Ganesh and it is the most beautiful structure in whole fort with gems embedded in it. Lattice screens up above on the Ganesh pol entrance were made for women of the royal family who along with their attendants would shower flowers on the victorious entry of the kings and princes from the screens and windows.



Apart from the Ganesh pol, the sheesh mahal inside the fort is most famous among tourists. Beautiful mirrors all around the vast hall in several designs and patterns bring the effect of stars of sky and are magnificently glittering.












Also, an interesting attraction here is the “magic flower” fresco carved in marble at the base of one of the pillars around the mirror palace depicting two hovering butterflies; the flower has seven unique designs including a fish tail, lotus, hooded cobra, elephant trunk, lion’s tail, cob of corn, and scorpion, each one of which is visible by a special way of partially hiding the panel with the hands.

Jal mahal- on my way from City Palace to Amer fort I also had an opportunity to see the architectural wonder called Jal mahal– a palace in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Jal mahal is actually a five storied building whose four stories remain submerged in the water while only one is exposed above the lake.

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So this was my trip to Jaipur where I experienced and witnessed a lot- from the regal persona of the royal families from their palaces and forts to their bravery and awe-inspiring courage by witnessing their military strength by their arms and ammunitions. From the bazaar of Jaipur where colors were in abundance to the antiques still so royal, I am compelled to say that Jaipur is indeed the pink city and the heart of the most colorful- Rajasthan.


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/