Laid out by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the Indian capital is a striking modern metropolis. A gracious contrast to Old Delhi’s winding streets, the grand avenues and stately buildings of New Delhi are rich with history and culture, from Gandhi’s Delhi home (and the site of his assassination) to the tomb of Humayun, a complex of Mughal buildings reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Chaotic traffic is best left to the locals. Negotiate a good price for taxis or travel on the new Delhi Metro.
Taj Mahal Agra
Built by a grief stricken Emperor Shah Jehan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal , the Taj Mahal has a structural elegance and pristine beauty that has been rarely matched .
It took 20 thousand men nearly 22 years to build the mausoleum and the finest of skilled artisans were brought in to inlay the white marble edifice with precious stones and to conjure filigreed marble screens around the centaphs of the emperor and his beloved queen . there is a jewel -like quality about the taj mahal .
The beautiful proportioned octagonal structure topped by a perfect dome is balanced by 4 soaring minarets that stand at the corners of the plinth .
The taj mahal is ethereal at any part of the day – blushing in the rosy glow of down or sunset , appearing like a pearly mirage in the moonlight or reflected in the pools of the garden . perhaps the most moving view of the taj is from an octogonal tower in the agra fort further along the river yamuna . It was here that the emperor shah jehan was imprisoned and wherehe spent his last day gazing at the tomb of his beloved wife .It is said that he had planned to build a similar tomb for himself in black marble across the river – but it was not to be
Taj Museum :
Timings: 10 am. to 5 pm.
Original drawings available here show the precision with which the architect had planned this monument. He even anticipated that it would be completed in 22 years. Drawings of the interiors show the position of the graves in such precision that the foot of the graves faces the viewer from any angle. Many more such breathtaking collections are here which can also be seen.
The Mosque & the Jawab :
To the left of the Taj is a mosque made of red sandstone. It is common in Islam to build a mosque next to a tomb. as it sanctifies the area and provides for a place for worship. This mosque is still used for Friday prayers. An identical mosque is also built to the right of the Taj and is known as the Jawab (answer). Prayers are not held here as it faces west i.e. away from Mecca . the holy city of the Muslims. It was built to maintain symmetry.
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