Friday, February 24, 2012

Taj Mahal

Jan 11th

Early start for trip to Taj Mahal.

Very cold in the taxi and off to one side we saw several times frost in the ditches. Loads of small lorries.  With the distances involved one wonders why there aren’t more articulated ones abut.

Stopped after an hour to let driver have a cuppa

The usual mixture of loads on the road.

This seems to be a lorry (an old one) with most of the body missing.  Cool in summer but they seem to be really freezing this morning.

Sumptuous buildings everywhere. 

Getting used to the loading of lorries.

This is one of the many motorbikes that carry the milk around.

This is just the gate to the grounds of the Taj Mahal

Even though I am still hobbling about I don't take either the modern electric bus or the camel cart to get to the entrance to the Taj proper.

Huge security presence

Entry  - 750 rupees but only 50 for Indians - to Taj highly regulated. No food, sweets or laptops allowed inside the grounds.  Long walk back to the Locker Room to deposit bag past all the rickshaws, horse and camel drawn carts.  There is a luxury electric driven 10 seater also ready for hire.

Through the West gateway which is highly decorated.  Made of red stone and marble. Into a massive open space with the Taj at the end.  Channels for water everywhere to keep the place cool.

The gate which is the entrace to the grounds.

Wow. What a place. There is little I can say so just enjoy the pics.

Water channel of to a small temple half way to the Taj

Occasional confusion of signs.

The main entrance into the tomb. 
No shoes allowed but they do give covers to save the marble.  Every inch of the place is marble. The actual tomb inside the building is quite simple.  Two small tombs surrounded by pierced marble screens.  Only light is that which gets through the doors.

There is a corridor that goes around the tomb and there are rooms between it and the tomb room with large rooms at the four corners. Very cool inside

At either side of the Taj is a temple? In the same style as the West gate.

The temple on the left of the Taj.

Wonderful carved marble everywhere.

Away from the West Gate and next to the Taj is the river from where I can imagine people landing to have a bit of quiet thinking time at the tomb.

At the back of the Taj

This is a viewing point across the river.

Temple to the right of the Taj

The Taj is in remarkable condition.  This is one of the few bits of damage that I spotted.

They could do with someone to work on the access to the various parts.  There is only one exit and if like us you walk around the Taj then visit the temple you can find that the exit is at the furthest point away from you as there is only one exit down from the stage upon which the Taj is built and one entrance up on to it.

The corridor that surrounds the tomb proper.

Lovely walk back to the gate and another exit is visible full of  tourist shops. Very crowded.  Sat on a seat near the gate in the shade enjoying the view. 

Lots and lots of people enjoying the place.

Various temples spotted on the drive back.

This is brickworks country with tall chimneys popping up every so often.

Lee reckons that the traffic regulations have been tightened up no end but you still see, on occasion a very large sack wandering down the road and only see the mode of transport after passing it. Whether it be tractor or camel makes no odds.

On the road side can be found any number of stalls selling almost anything.  Most are for a quick snack or lorry stop but for some reason - maybe they are having a purge - there are loads of stalls selling only motorbike helmets.

The colour of the Tuk Tuk has changed but there are still whole families out shopping on a scooter.  If only the wife she tends to sit - precariously - side-saddle at 40mph+ on what sometimes as bumpy as a ploughed field.