Taj Mahal – Most Photogenic Monument Of The World

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taj mahal at agra in indiaCameras were not yet born when Taj Mahal was built. But some prophecy must have told its builders to build something that every camera and camera holder would love. The way they have given an outward slant to the Minars so that they look straight in perspective or the way they have joined together simple elements that when put together look so elegant is just what the cameras today love.

entrance gate of taj mahal, agra
Entrance Gate of Taj Mahal

When I travelling through Spiti Valley in Himachal, I was told that you do not need to be a photographer, you can point your camera anywhere and you are bound to get a good picture – for the place is so damn beautiful that it is nearly impossible to get a bad picture. I could say the same words about Taj as well. You just point your camera towards this pristine white building and you cannot go wrong with your picture.

Taj Mahal viewed from arch of the gate
First View of Taj from the arch of the Gate

You can click the Taj from the front, from back, from the side, from a distance or from close up, you will always smile at the result. You can go in different seasons or at different times of the day to get a different background and the white Taj would reflect a bit of its surroundings to give you a different mood, to make you feel as if you are meeting a different building while remaining distinctly just that – Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal Panorama from Mehtab Bagh, Agra
Taj Mahal Panorama from Mehtab Bagh
Taj Mahal - The Corner View that tells you it is Octagonal
Taj Mahal – The Corner View that tells you it is Octagonal
Iconic view of Taj Mahal , Agra
Iconic view of Taj Mahal

I also noticed that the way the walkways are allowed around Taj Mahal, almost everyone gets a clean image of the monument. In fact later at the UP Travel Writer’s conclave in Lucknow, I got to hear that the authorities have made sure that visitors can always get their iconic Taj Mahal image and nothing comes between them and the Taj Mahal. I was thankful and I was impressed.

Jali Work, Inlay Work, Calligraphy on the side wall of Taj Mahal, Agra
Jali Work, Inlay Work, Calligraphy on the side walls
Floral Inlay work that used to have precious stones at Taj Mahal, Agra
Floral Inlay work that used to have precious stones
Geometric borders in Yellow & Grey inlay work at Taj Mahal
Geometric borders in Yellow & Grey inlay work
Floral Corners at Taj Mahal
Floral Corners – mostly restored
Plain Squares with geometric borders at Taj Mahal
Plain Squares with geometric borders
Carved Marble decorations at Taj Mahal
Carved Marble decorations
Play of marble carving and inlay on a border that goes around base of Taj Mahal
Play of marble carving and inlay on a border that goes around base of Taj

If you look at the parts of Taj Mahal in isolation – they are quite simple. There are no complicated carvings. Even the inlay work is simple – it is the finesse that it is done with that makes it special. The way all the pieces come together to be a masterpiece is worth appreciating in Taj Mahal. If I have to translate it to Management Jargon, Taj Mahal is a perfect example of average workers coming together as a brilliant team.

White Taj Mahal Minar contrasting with the red of the mosque at Agra
White Minar contrasting with the red of the mosque
All White view of Taj Mahal
All White view of Taj Mahal
How the Minars frame the Taj Mahal
How the Minars frame the Taj
Closeup of Minar of Taj Mahal
Detail of the Minar – a window, a door, a parapet and delicate carving and of course inlay work

I enjoyed playing with the Minar angles and clicking through the arches.

Entrance gate of Taj Mahal through the corridor arch
Entrance gate of Taj Mahal through the corridor arch
Red arched corridor and the corner tiered watch tower at Taj Mahal, Agra
Red arched corridor and the corner tiered watch tower
Detail of the red sandstone entrance gate of Taj Mahal, Agra
Detail of the red sandstone entrance gate of Taj Mahal
Elegant watch towers in Red Sandstone at Taj Mahal
Elegant watch towers in Red Sandstone
West facing Mosque in red Sandstone, Taj Mahal, Agra
West facing Mosque in red Sandstone
Mirror image of Mosque to give symmetry to Taj Mahal, Agra
Mirror image of Mosque to give symmetry to Taj

I liked the Red sandstone as much as the sparkling white of Taj. Yes, the white shines through and shimmers as sun rays play with it, but the Red sandstone has an elegance that is difficult to match.

Taj Mahal - View from Taj Khema
Taj Mahal – View from Taj Khema

Whenever I visit these monuments that have a whole economy running around them, they bring prominence to the region by sheer presence, I feel the greatest contribution of such monuments is that they still continue to be a source of livelihood for so many and a thing of joy for even more.

Details of front face of Taj Mahal
Details of front face of Taj Mahal

These creations may have served a small purpose in their creator’s life, but for generations they feed the people who take care of it, people who tell its stories to the visitors and even more important than that is the joy it fills in the people who visit it. I saw people looking at it like a dream come true. There were many who saved for years to be able to visit the Taj. I saw the excitement on the faces as they stood in long queues to get the first glimpse of Taj. It was a pleasure to see them posed with an ear-to-ear smile on their faces – just as they had dreamt of for years.

Garden View of Taj Mahal, Agra
Garden View of Taj Mahal

Those 22,000 builders of Taj Mahal must be smiling somewhere in the sky looking at the creation they left the world with. And a creation that was fortunate to catch the world’s eye in a way that it is well taken care of.

Taj Mahal Practical Tips.

Base of Taj Mahal from Yamuna Front in Agra
Base of Taj Mahal from Yamuna Front in Agra
  • Do visit Taj Mahal early morning if possible, as soon as the sun rises and the gates of Taj are opened for public.
Taj Mahal in Morning Light
Taj in Morning Light
  • Visit once when the sun is setting. I visited the Taj from back i.e from Mehtab Bagh in the evening. And you get pretty good shots from there too, including the two red buildings on its side.
  • If you can, plan to visit during full moon night and go for the evening view. For me, this is still pending.
  • If you want to see the real graves of the couple – Shahjahan and Mumtaj Mahal, visit it when the underground chamber is opened to the public once a year. Since they follow a lunar calendar you need to check the date in the year you plan to visit.
  • Avoid going on Saturday morning, as the water in the fountain, channels is filled on Saturday. And you would miss your reflection shots on this day.
 detail of the Taj Mahal Front face Agra
Another detail of the Taj Mahal Front face

I visited Taj Mahal more than 30 years ago as a primary school kid. I had some vivid memories of visiting it. It was not so isolated then, we could just take a rickshaw or a Tonga to its gate. Buy a ticket and walk in. Today you probably need a full day to visit it.

Taj Mahal – What to Read.

Taj Mahal reflecting in water
Taj Mahal reflecting in water

There is so much written about the Taj – also a UNESCO World Heritage site. I have nothing much to add. Go to the ASI website for most authentic information on Taj Mahal or other World Heritage Sites in India.

Recommended you read Places to Visit near the Taj and in Uttar Pradesh on my Indian Travel Blog

  1. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
  2. Gems of Mathura Museum.
  3. The Deceptive Palace at Deeg.
  4. Fatehpur Sikri – city rooted in Saint’s blessings.
  5. Itmad-ud-daula Tomb – a daughter’s tribute.
  6. Rhythm of Chaos on the ghats of Ganga in Varanasi.
  7. 5 Places that Celebrate Love in India.
  8. Must Try Food in Varanasi.
  9. Evening Aarti at the ghats of Ganga, Varanasi.
  10. Buddha’s Sarnath near Varanasi.
  11. Finding Kabir in Kashi.
  12. Braj Bhoomi, 84 Kos Yatra part 1.
  13. Braj Bhoomi Yatra, 84 Kos Yatra part II.
  14. Khurja – a potters town.
  15. City of Jhansi ki Rani.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Stunning pictures.. Taj Mahal, regardless of how many ever times I visit always fascinates me..Bought back fond memories.. Thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  2. Taj mahal is one of the seven wonder in the world. It is build by Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar the great, in the memory of his queen ‘Mumtaz Mahal’. It is located in Agra and made by white marbles. Taj Mahal is one of the best tourist places in India.

  3. Your pictures are stunning! Make me want to visit asap! Love the different angle through which you have captured its beauty!

    Your tips are definitely useful!

  4. Childhood dream fulfilled twice. We have so many pics of morn & eve of Taj. Truly enjoyed our tour thru India.

  5. Miss/Smt. Anuradha Goyal,
    I really enjoyed photographs of the structures in pretious stones, clicked by you.
    The eminance and perfections of the carvings are beautifully copied by your optical
    device. Wish you success in camerawork in Indi Tales.
    Thankyou,
    DASAN P S.

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