Even as a young kid I found the Taj breathtaking. Walking from the bazaar through the Great Gate takes you into a fantasy of another world and time.
In the spring of 1975 the complex's water works were shut down for maintenance, but it hardly detracted from its awsomeness.
Early morning fog and smog obscure the mausoleum's details. This photo was taken on the first day of the Eid Al-Fitr, when Moslems break the fast after Ramadan, on December 27, 2000.
Eid worshipers entering the southern or Great Gate to the Taj complex to pray at the mosque.
This shot shows the extensive use of inlay work that decorate the Taj. Materials used for the inlay include jade, black and orange marble, and jasper.
Koranic verses are inlaid around the Taj's arches.
The northern corner of the Jawab, or audience hall (which mirrors the mosque on the oppostie side of the riverfront terrace) with the Yamuna River.
The northern half of the mosque with two of its three domes.
The Great Gate; the Taj's main entrance, seen from the mausoleum.
The southern corner of the Jawab from the main entrance to the mausoleum.
The dome of the mausoleum with its fine inlay work. The rings on the dome were installed during the early 1970s war with Pakistan to support a camouflage structure in an effort to conceal the monument from Pakistani bombers. Other than to instill some anti-Pakistani fervor among India's Moslem population I've yet to understand how this would have helped protect such a well know monument.
The western face of the mausoleum from an upper floor of the mosque. In order to stabalize the sandy soil and support the plinth, a series of large wells were dug and then filled with rubble, iron, and mortar.
The cenotaphs of Mumtaz Jahan (on the right) and Shah Jahan lie under the dome of the mausoleum. Mumtaz's monument is dead center; Shah Jahan's to its west is the only visible asymetrical compenent of the Taj complex.
One of the mausoleum's four minarets in the morning fog. The minarets are more than 120' tall and are slightly out of plumb with the plinth to the outside, so if one or more were to fall they would colllapse away from the mausoleum.
The mosque from the plinth of the mausoleum. Each of the three domes tops inner sanctuaries with the central being the largest. The floors of the mosque are laid out with black marble outlines of 569 prayer rugs.
My family and I visited the Taj on December 27, 2000 which happened to be the first day of the Eid al-Fitr when Moslems break their Ramadan fast. Entrance fees (a hefty $50/person for visitors from hard currency countries) were waived for the holiday and huge crowds attended morning services.
It was nice to visit the Taj on a day when it was so crowded with non-tourists who were there to celebrate and enjoy the holiday.
This picture of the Taj Complex's riverfront terrace was taken near dusk from the Agra Fort, northwest of the Taj and across the Yamuna River. Unfortunately dust and smog blanket northern India these days and visibility is poor.
This portion of the Agra Fort is known as Musamman Burj. It was added to the fort by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz as private living quarters. Legend has it that Shah Jahan's son imprisoned him in a room in these quarters from which the only view of the Taj possible was one reflected in the surface of an inlaid gemstone.
The roof of the Musamman Burj that also shows the fort's double walls and the Yamuna River in the background.
The Khas Mahal within the Agra Fort was built by Shah Jahan for his two favorite daughters, Jahanara and Roshanara.
Inside the Khas Mahal; not your typical ceiling!
Part of the Agra Fort's interior.
The Diwan-i-Am, or public audience hall, of the Agra Fort. The Peacock Throne was once housed in this building.
Part of the Diwan-i-Am, Agra Fort.
Highly decorated columns of Jehengir Mahal, the palace built within the Agra Fort by Akbar the Great for his son Jehengir.
Three of my four siblings and I fooling around in the Agra Fort imitating God knows who, as my mother watches on. (Circa 1954.)
Looking out onto a courtyard from the Diwan-i-Am, Agra Fort.
The same courtyard through a carved marble screen.
It is hard to imagine what life for the Fort's occupants was like.
The Gate of Magnificence or "Buland Darwaza" (Persion) serves as the main entrance to Fatehpur Sikri. It was built by Akbar the Great in 1601 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat.
The Jama Masjid mosque in Fatehpur Sikri just outside of Agra, and the tomb of
Jama Musjid mosque, Fatehpur Sikri.
The palace complex, Fatehpur Sikri.
A second floor walkway atop the central pillar of the Diwan-i-Khas (private audience hall), Fatehpur Sikri.
Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri.
A carved pillar in the palace complex, Fatehpur Sikri.