A Big Fancy Building for A Dead Woman

This is the post where I’ll show you all the same pictures you’ve seen before of the Taj Mahal. But don’t leave yet – I have a special treat that you almost certainly haven’t seen before.

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After arriving in Agra, we grabbed a horse cart to carry us to the Taj. It wasn’t far, but it was hot.

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I was surprised how many local people where at the national monument.

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The crowds made getting good pictures tough, but the mausoleum was just as breathtaking as it was purported to be.

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We visited on a Thursday, which meant it was fountain-cleaning day.

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The work is all done by hand, of course.

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The Arabic script around the doorways employs a technique where it gets gradually gets larger as it goes higher, so they look the same size from the ground and are just readable. I’m not explaining that well, so someone who actually knows the proper term for that, please explain.

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Inside, the walls are decorated with inlaid precious and semi-precious stones.

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The workmanship of the building is truly amazing, as is the attention to detail. The minarets on either side of the main temple lean slightly outward, so that if they fell, they would not fall on the tomb. The dome shape was also chosen so that it would not crush the tomb inside if it fell.

The white marble is native to India, though not northern India where Agra is located.

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[Random tourist trip: If I ever did Agra again, I’d do the audio tour at the Taj. We had a private tour guide, who came with a car and lunch, but I’m not sure it was worth the $90/person price. Our guide did do a good job of chasing people off so I could get a photo, or getting us to the right spot/line among the crowds, but I did feel like a big, mean tourist when he shooed off two teenagers from the “Diana” bench so I could sit on it for my photo.]

Here are the replicas of what’s underneath the publicly accessible area of the Taj:
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Cameras were forbidden in that area, so consider this an exclusive look.

Yet more attention to detail:

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These columns are not really hexagonal, but the inlaid stripes pattern make it look like that.

This post is way too long, so I’m going to leave you waiting with bated breath until later. But here’s a clue: if the Taj is what the man built to honor his deceased wife, imagine what he did for her while she was alive.

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