Agra, Taj Mahal and the Fort, India, November 2019

Agra, Taj Mahal and the Fort, India, November 2019
Agra, city famous for the Taj Mahal. This mausoleum is really grand. These white marble facades do not leave indifferent. this whiteness hurts the eyes. By and others, the mosque and the palace of the guests. Their red color makes the mausoleum more white. Although the place is great, I did not find the magic I expected, as was the case for the Petra site. This does not detract from the splendor of the monument.
The 2nd monument, the Agra Fort, is really huge. When you see the outer walls, you can not really imagine what is behind these red stones. Different palaces, covered in the past with carpets, as a door. These monuments, with Mughal and Hindu architecture are also striking for their ingenuity to guarantee the freshness inside. Thus, inside some walls, circulated water to refresh, or ventilation systems to circulate the air.


The Taj Mahal, which means, in Persian, “the palace of the crown”, is a white marble mausoleum built by the Muslim Mughal emperor Shâh Jahân in memory of his wife Arjumand Bânu Begam, also known as Mumtaz Mahal which means in Persian “the light of the palace”. She died in 1631, giving birth to their fourteenth child while accompanying her husband during a military campaign. The Taj Mahal is considered a gem of Mughal architecture, a style that combines architectural elements of Islamic, Iranian, Ottoman and Indian architectures.
It is erected at the bottom of a rectangular ornamental garden enclosed by a pierced enclosure on each side of four doors, three of which are false. The garden is crossed by four cross channels with jets of water and fountains. The monument is constructed using materials from various parts of India and other parts of Asia. More than 1,000 elephants would have been used to transport building materials during construction.
Its construction began in 1632 and would have ended at the end of 1643 or early 1644. But at the main entrance an inscription indicates that the construction was completed in 1648.


The fort of Agra is a fort covering a surface of 0,15mi2 (38ha), it is the largest fort of India. The walls, in red sandstone, are 68ft (21m) high and 1,55mi (2,5km) long. Known since 1080, the fort, in ruins, was rebuilt in 1558 by Jalâluddin Muhammad Akbar to make a residential palace for his son. Its reconstruction lasted 8 years. The monument, originally made of brick, was rebuilt with red sandstone from Rajasthan.
From that moment, the fort was not only a military place but also a place of residence. The architecture is of Hindu style, the Mughal style will assert itself later under Shâh Jahân.


Anecdote: In different conflicts (Germany, Japan, Pakistan), scaffolding is erected, at Taj Mahal, to mislead pilots. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, preventive measures are envisaged to cover the monument with a khaki cloth to avoid the reverberation of the sun which makes it visible to 25mi (40km) to the round what could make it a potential target.


Advice: To visit Agra, nothing beats the high speed train. I traveled by car and it is very long, especially since there is nothing to see on the way. You leave in the early morning and you come back with the last train.


The pictures
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