Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overwhelming Taj, Beautiful Baby Taj And The Majestic Bibi Ka Maqbara...Tombs Of The Mughal Era - II

View from the Mehtab Garden which is behind the Taj! All 4 sides of the Taj are identical!
This monument is such a huge one, famous one and everybody knows everything about it! So whatever I write will be a repeat! So, I will stick to only some which fascinated me very much. You can read and comment in the I part here!

The guide, Mr. Rizwan who did his graduation in History and was undergoing training to become a full-fledged guide, told us many interesting things.  One was that all the surrounding structures like minarets were built a bit slanting outward from the Taj so that if earthquake or some disaster came, they will not fall on the main structure!

One more interesting anecdote was...actually I noticed when I went there early in the morning...small small rings on the main dome.  Then asked the guide later when I visited again, who said that they were locking slabs with the rings.  So the dome will never fall down on the whole at the same time.  It will be easier to repair too if they come off in parts.  I had seen this system at the Pattadha Kallu temples in Karnataka, 7th/8th century, in a bit different way though...saw iron rings joining the stones.  The Taj is from 17th century.  The architect was from Iran! Fascinating! Have a look at the rings on the dome of the Taj:

Notice the small small rings connecting the slabs! The dome is 240 ft. high! We can see the beautiful design here too, lotus on the top and coloured designs at the bottom! False roofing is there inside the dome with beautiful designs on top and the sides!
As I told you in my earlier post about the Taj here, this structure is full of precious gems brought from all over the world. This link has more details. Many precious gems were stolen in the later years, British?.  Now, they are replaced with semi precious gems. The guide showed us how to check the really precious gems inside the mausoleum.  It was dark and cool inside but the crowd was too much.  Still, the man showed it like this. Non precious gems didn't glow! This is the reason the structure glows during the full moon day. The gems when light is shone, glitters brightly.

Mosque on the side of the Taj Mahal...Similar building on the other side of the Taj is Mehmaankhana(guest house)
The guide said that the Mehmaankhana was built first like a model for the main building.  Then it was decorated...looks beautiful.  Later on the masons/labourers stayed here while building the main structure.  These people needed a mosque to pray.  So, the other building was built in the similar fashion.  The colour red on both sides of the white Taj, accentuates the beauty of the Taj. 

Cleaning the walls of the Taj work was going on when we went there.  The guide said that what our Indian women use for facial is used here too, i.e. multaani mitti and herbs.  Multaani mitti (mud) is got from Multan, Rajasthan.  This link says:
The sticky brown mixture is smeared on the smut-stained marble surfaces of the 17th- century Mogul tomb and washed off with warm water after 24 hours.
The formula - based on a method discovered in a 16th- century Mogul journal, Ain-I-Akbary - has proved to have such restorative qualities that it is now being exported to Italy to clean grimy monuments there.
Archaeologists at India's most popular tourist site found to their astonishment that the substance, known as multani mitti, drew black and yellow impurities from the Taj Mahal's marble and left its surface gleaming white for the first time in decades.
K. K. Muhammed, the head of the Agra branch of the Archaeological Survey of India, who is in charge of combating the effects of pollution on the Taj Mahal, said tests had shown that the substance restored the marble to its former sheen.

Cleaning work is going on!
Cleaned area...

Click on the picture and look at the beautiful designs!
More designs can be seen in the wiki link!

We were here on 18th March '17.  We came here from Bharatpur bird sanctuary.  A bomb blast was there at the Agra station.  So, checking was stricter than usual.  The crowd was too much. Ticket cost was Rs.40 for us and Rs.1,000 for foreigners! People were asked to remove their shoes too for checking.  School children struggled! My tablet pouch with eye drops and alpenliebe chocolates were thrown into a drum! It was not there when we came back, but at least the security officer apologized:) We stood in the queue at about 5.30 and went inside around 6.45.  Taj view during sunrise was gone! We were made to walk barefoot from the platform of the Taj.  Feet were burning because it was a very hot day! Touts were roaming asking people to engage them as guides promising that they would take us to the grave area (which is open only for a particular period in an year!).  We gave our guide Rizwan, Rs.300.  He was quite good, but was asking us to buy sarees and other handicrafts in a particular store.  He told us frankly that he would get 5% commission! Well, it was a hectic but interesting day and next day I lost my mobile with many many pictures of the designs on the walls of the Taj and the Baby Taj! Lost the main gate photo also but an even better darwaaza photo of the Baby Taj is here:

Picture courtesy: Daniel Villafruela.
This was a memorable trip! If my readers know more interesting anecdotes of the Taj can post in the comment section...I would be very happy!



SG said...

Once again, beautiful and colorful travelogue. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

Sandhya said...

SG: Thank you, SG! I am so happy to see your first comment in my posts!

Jeevan said...

Wow! You provided interesting facts and ever heard things about the Taj Mahal. The light expose on the precious gems is quite amazing... and you got picture perfect shots on the Taj and mosque beside. Wish you haven’t lost your mobile and taj isn’t an often visited place... so photos should be a great source to keep cherish the moments and monument.

Locomente said...

So so beautiful... I always wanted to go to Taj Mahal... Someday soon, I tell myself... Hope you had a good time there...:)

Thanks for sharing!

KParthasarathi said...

Your visits do not seem superficial but have the keenness of a genuine tourist and hunger for details of a researcher.There is nothing casual about these trips.You have brought out many interesting facts about the great place that I was not aware of..There is a thoroughness in your sight seeing trips.The photos in your posts speak volumes about the beauty of the structures that words can hardly do adequate justice.

Sandhya said...

JEEVAN: I have got many many photos of the Taj. But I took the designs in my mobile camera. The camera is very good in Mi 5 mobile. Hmmmm...Thank you, Jeevan!

LOCO MENTE: Yes, we had a very good time there! Actually, though so many positive stories are there about it, I still never thought that I will get stunned by it...I did! Baby Taj is still more stunning!

K PARTHASARATHY: Thank you, so much, KP! I am overwhelmed!

ashok said...

its truly a mesmerizing building...

Rama Ananth said...

Now a days there is a big line to enter any historical place, or temples and churches. I feel grateful I had the good fortune of living in Agra many years ago, and I was fortunate to see Taj at different times of the day without the crowd. Relatives used to come and we used to take them and have a picnic on the lawns of the Taj Mahal.
I am sure you must have visited Sikandra, the fort, Ithmaddhula etc while you were in Agra. It is very hot, I hope you tasted their famous Alo tikki, their Kulfhi, and their Agray Ka Petha.
The Chiken Sarees are very good there.
It brought back so many good memories for me. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sandhya said...

ASHOK: Yes, Ashok!

RAMA ANANTH: We tried to watch the monument during sunrise. AS I wrote, though we reached the venue early, the checking and other things made us late. In the evening, we tried to watch during sunset from Mehtab garden, which is famous, it seems. But the sun was dull and the light was not enough:( Still we were roaming inside the complex twice for a long time. Still many photographs are there but maybe some other time I might post!

I would have loved to spend some years in the other parts of India but no, we were destined to stay only at Madras, Bangalore and Hosur:( You are lucky in that way.

Yes, we visited Sikandra, the Agra Fort. Baby fort too.We tasted kulfi and Agray ki petha. I didn't go for sarees. Stayed on the same road too...happy memories for me too except the loss of my favourite M5 mobile:(

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

It is beautiful. I visited it when i was in school .. then again a few years back but that day it was closed .. so saw it from behind ...

I have it in my list to see it someday and spend a lot of time admiring ...


Onkar said...

Good description and beautiful pictures

Sandhya said...

BIKRAMJIT SINGH MANN: This monument is worth visiting again. Visit Baby Taj too! You will like it!

ONKAR: Thank you, Onkar!

Renu said...

I love to see historical places and inquisitive also about them and infaact seen so many places including this but can nevr document the way you do..just beautiful.

Sandhya said...

RENU: Thank you, Renu! This was a dream come true! Many more pictures and information are there with me but everything has become common knowledge, i.e. who want to know more about places. It might be boring for others to read the same things again and again!

Shail said...

Lovely photos. And lots of interesting facts. I didn't know about the minarets being built slanting away.

Sandhya said...

SHAIL MOHAN: Many interesting facts are there! I have covered only some!

Thank you, Shail!

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