Wah Taj! 4

Sometime back I went on a day trip to Agra specifically with the purpose of photography. Yeah, obsessed-lately-with-photography-me does that at times. But then I have some other crazy people with me luckily, who were willing to brave the sun, heat, humidity etc for the love of photography. A volvo full of 41 occupants set out on 17th June for Agra. Since the killing temperature in Delhi was around 46 degrees some days prior to our trip, everyone was speculative about the weather in Agra, which was only bound to be worse. Yours truly just thanked God for providing her olfactory senses more trustworthy than the Met department. The only thing I tend to bet about is the onset of rain and I (almost) always win :). Needless to say when the whole world thought we would be fried, baked and incinerated, I gleefully predicted that this temperature pressure cooker was already at its peak and would not be able to sustain that long. We were to have rains and we did.

The evening before the trip was spent at India gate. The next morning we had to get together at Mandi house metro station at 5:30 am. I could manage just 2 hours of a subconscious state (read sleep). Conducting project hair wash early in the morning wasn’t much of a use eventually as I was again subjected to God’s shower at 5:30 am in the morning and eventually we left much later at 7:45 am! But then who minds it, when the weather is this glorious! Though we were concerned about the weather being gloomy at Agra. But all turned out well over there too. It was a clear sunny day, with everything bearing a clean, fresh, washed out look.

Here’s a glimpse of the rain gods who practically threw an ice cube into the cocktail in the skies.
A splash of ice ... into the cocktail in the skies

I clicked this shot from the bus as we approached our first stop on the way – MacD at Mathura! It was raining outside and the rain drops on the window only make this shot more picturesque.
The lone tree

We first headed towards Fatehpur sikri through some shortcut which gave us the full pleasure of a simulated camel ride also. We eventually made it there only after noon. We first went to Jodha Bai’s palace and ended up lolling about for a fair share of our time, which eventually left us with no time for Buland darwaza unfortunately, since we had to rush to the Taj (the high point of the trip) after lunch.

Embedded are some shots from Fatehpur sikri.
Play of lightOld worldThe room with a view
TimelessStep into the shadowsBoundaries
Pillars inside a structure

The complete Fatehpur sikri set is here.

After Fatehpur sikri, we rushed off to have a quick lunch and then headed towards THE Taj Mahal. The last time I had visited Taj Mahal was sometime in bachpan of which I remembered nothing. Once we reached there, it still hadn’t sunk in that we were there at THE love monument. We reached there at 5:30pm and it was supposed to stay open till around sunset (approx 7pm). We had to leave our cellphones and other electronic items back in the bus or in lockers. We were anyway more bothered about our cameras, goggles and water bottles – all of which were thankfully allowed. The entrance was choc a bloc full with people clicking the cliched shots of Taj. The moment one enters, one is thronged by photographers all around willing to click ones pictures with the Taj in exotic poses. We felt like flicking them away – did they think we were nincompoops to have travelled all the way from Delhi, with such exquisite camera gear in tow only to get clicked by those ppl :p. We self righteously clicked our own “exotic” poses with “fingers touching the dome of Taj”, “plucking Taj out of the ground” and such like. For a change I got my pictures clicked for memorabilia, which I generally tend to just forget when I am indulging in photography. After all one doesnt visit an exquisite monument like this everyday. Symmetry and cemetery both come to mind when one takes a look at this piece of art. Work on this mausoleum began in 1633 and 20,000 workers laboured for 17 years to build it. The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across Indian and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. Though it was quite apparent that it is exactly like Humayun’s tomb since it was inspired from the same, but of course the magnificance of Taj Mahal is insurmountable.

Some pics from Taj follow in chronological order. One can see the gradients in the sky with passage of time. Needless to say I just love skies, clouds and sunsets. I couldn’t venture inside to see the tombs as I was trigger happy outside.

Taj against a blue skyA minaret next to the TajFloating clouds
The gateway to the TajSunset at TajSunset at the bank of Yamuna
Sunset at Yamuna
Taj at twilight

The complete Taj set is here.

The last “twilight” shot before leaving Taj shows Venus approaching the moon for a magnificent occultation the next day.
The colours of the night

I clicked 343 pics in all and I have of course uploaded only a few of them. I have a lot of stuff but I would rather upload them gradually than congest my flickr stream with Taj pics. We had grand plans of clicking the Taj from across the other bank of Yamuna but by the time we got out of Taj Mahal, it was already 8pm. Needless to say the number of hours aren’t enough to capture or even glimpse this wonderful beauty. Another trip would soon be in the offing, preferably with a full moon to give us company.

There’s supposedly lot of speculation in the blogosphere regarding whether we should vote for the Taj or not and if the voting REALLY makes a difference to its national importance. (I quote the MSM for I hardly saw any such speculation myself). Though I have voted for the Taj, and it would certainly help with more votes if we want to keep it there in the final seven wonders, it’s everyone’s individual decision at the end of the day. All I would say is that even if it doesn’t matter to us as a country, (we would anyway visit it if we want), it would definitely matter to the outside world from a tourism perspective and eventually the effect would percolate down enough to make it a matter of national importance. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. Since the 17th century, travellers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love, and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty.
So please go ahead and vote for the Taj before 07/07/07.

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