Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taj Mahal

We woke up earlier the morning of the 5th to go to the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We arrived around 6 am.

There's no food allowed in the Taj Mahal, and Sita got stopped going through security, because we both forgot that there was a package of cookies left in the bag. I thought it was funny that she was stopped so I took a couple pictures.

This is the entrance to the Taj. Our tour guide said that the domes on top represent the number of years it took to construct. It took 22 years, so there are 11 here and 11 on another entrance.

Standing in the courtyard before entering. The buildings surrounding this courtyard where the dorms for the workers.


Our tour guide told us that the inscriptions get larger as they go up the wall so that they appear even to the viewer on the ground. He also noted that the inscriptions are made of black marble inlaid into white marble as paint would've faded by now.

The Taj Mahal in all it's glory.

The gardens around the Taj are nicely maintained.

Sunrise really is a good time to visit.

Our guide explained to us that the minarets actually tilt outwards at the top so that they appear parallel to the viewer at a distance.

This mosque (to the left of the Taj) is still in use.

Our guide explained that there are many illusions on display at the Taj. In this case the star patterns become zig-zag lines as they go off into the distance.

Inside the Taj. It is fairly dark since it's only lit by natural light. Flash photography is not permitted inside, luckily our camera has a nice setting for low light and I got some good pics.

The morning sun.
I tried to get a nice pic of the ceiling inside but it came out all blurry.

There are a few outer rooms surrounding the inner core of the Taj. These rooms were quite a bit lighter, especially with the morning sun. We're standing in front of windows which look into the inner part of the Taj.
An entrance into the Taj, the ceiling inside was much like the ceiling seen here.

The Yammuna river next to the Taj with the Agra Fort in the background.

These two pics demonstrate how much the color can change depending on the angle and light. Two different settings on the camera were used for these pics. But just as the camera can see the same thing in two ways so can you when you're there. It's really an intriguing place.

Another illusion at play, it's hard to tell with this picture, though. At the top this column looks like it has sharp edges where the peaks of the zig-zaging lines meet, but actually the column is a half-octagon, with four flat surfaces each containing a v-like portion of the zig-zaging lines.

The Indian archeological survey embedded this replica of the steeple of the Taj Mahal so that people could comprehend the actual size of it. It's actually 10 meters high which is over 30 feet.

This view of the Taj Mahal is another illusion as you step away the focus narrows which makes the Taj look bigger, whereas usually things look smaller the further you go from them.

Even the storm drains are elaborately carved into the sandstone.

A squirrel we spotted in the garden.

A side view of the Taj.

Sita and our tour guide.

A view from the garden.

Another view of the worker's dormitories.