THE TAJ

Yes, I've been to a lot of places, and seen a lot of stuff. Buildings and architecture are great, but not a major thing for me. This was different. Seeing the Taj Mahal was really something. I wasn't prepared for what an impact it made on me. It's hard to explain - it may be that you see pictures and hear about it your whole life. It may actually be that it's just an incredible building. Probably both, I don't know. But I do know that seeing it in person was amazing. It's hard to try to find a way to photograph the thing in a way that maybe hasn't been done before, and that was my challenge - that and trying to stop saying to myself "You're at the Taj Mahal".

We went at night on a full moon ( no tripods allowed, and only 20 minutes or so to shoot from behind a barrier, which made life interesting ), and we went back the next morning at first light before the crowds came, which was great. Most people know the story of the Indian emperor building the Taj Mahal as a mausoleum for his wife in the mid 1600's. What I didn't know was that that emperor's son and successor put his father in prison in Agra Fort in his later years. The emperor's only request was that his prison cell face the Taj so he could see it every day. (about a mile and half away from Agra Fort) He stayed imprisoned there until he died. The other thing I didn't realize is the amount of detail there is on the building. There is a lot of fairly elaborate hand chiseled stone inlay in the marble entrances and on various walls. The amount of work that went into it is ridiculous. The inside is even more elaborate, but no photography is allowed there. It was an impressive place. Here are a few shots that I hope give you an idea of what it was like:

Night time.
Another angle.
A monkey enjoys the Taj.
A view from across the Yamuna river.
Night view from a distance.
The view from Shah Jahan's prison cell.
Detail of some of the stone inlay.