Photographer's Note


One of the defining architectural gems of our species, the Taj Mahal, located in North Central India, is not a temple of worship, but a tomb. When the 17th century Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, lost his favorite wife — Mumtaz Mahal —at childbirth, he became deeply distraught. He gave orders immediately that a year following her death, the erection of a befitting mausoleum would be undertaken. Scores of architects, thousands of laborers and hundreds of oxen toiled sixteen years (1632-1648) to create the white marble structure. In reality, the Taj is a complex of buildings that includes a mosque and other dependencies. And as much as any single property, it is the overwhelming symmetry of the building, indeed of the entire complex that is unforgettable. The gateway to the complex features an arch through which the dome of the Taj Mahal first becomes visible — symmetric, pristine, gleaming. I chose a vantage point precisely to accentuate that symmetry.

Behind the Taj Mahal the Yamuna River flows in a lazy manner, no eddies, no turbulence, just a molasses-like gentle motion. According to tradition, Shah Jahan envisioned the building of a black marble counterpart, to be built symmetrically across the Yamuna. His obsession, however, threatened to devastate the state treasury. It was at this point that the Shah’s son overthrew his father, and put him under house arrest in a distant building, but one that afforded a view of his Temple of Love to his beloved wife.

This is a frequently photographed view of the Taj. What makes each one different are the lighting conditions. Here are a few from the same vantage point: Mohd Tabrez Alam, apratimsaha, janink and snunney.
I particularly like the creative shots by beatmen and powerlolo. What is clear is that the Taj Mahal will exceed all expectations.

We were in India to visit Anil Nehru, a close friend from university days in the United States. I would like to dedicate this photo to Anil and his wife, Chand, who hosted us in Chandigarh as graciously as the Mughals of centuries past might have. I am grateful to Anil also for arranging a talk for me at the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi. I am also grateful to Diwan Manna , professional photographer and Director of the Lalit Kala Akademi for organizing a first rate event. With countless colorful saris and turbans, this had to be the most exotic audience I've addressed anywhere.

This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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