Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mysterious India Part Two: The Taj Mahal

“The Taj truly is… a poem... It is not only a pure architectural type, but also a creation, which satisfies the imagination, because its characteristic is Beauty. Did you ever build a Castle in the Air? Here is one, brought down to earth, and fixed for the wonder of ages; yet so light it seems, so airy, and when seen from a distance, so like a fabric of mist and sunbeams, with its great dome soaring up, a silvery bubble, about to burst in the sun, that, even after you have touched it, and climbed to its summit, you almost doubt its reality.”
--Bayard Taylor, journalist and novelist, after his visit to the Taj Mahal in 1850.

With Taylor's beautiful words and Gloria Feit's beautiful photographs, I offer this tribute to the Taj Mahal, one of India's most famous sights and an architectural wonder. Gloria, who has traveled extensively, still admitted that the Taj Mahal took her breath away, and those who know it claim that photos cannot capture its majesty.

She also pointed out that as the light changed, so too did the mood of this wonderful palace; and, as she and Ted noted, everything is perfectly symmetrical, even the reflected image of the Taj.

A couple other views of India: these little monkeys on the roadside particularly delighted Gloria, especially the tiny baby held by the mother monkey on the far left. This, too, reminds me of a line from The Far Pavilions, the book I referenced in yesterday's post:

"The stillness of the morning lent clarity to a distant crackle of firing and the voices of men shouting under the walls of Delhi. Presently these too ceased or were absorbed into the work-a-day sounds of the awaking city and the normal noises of an Indian morning: the creak of a well-wheel, partridges calling out on the plains and sarus cranes by the river; the harsh cry of a peacock from the standing crops, and the chatter and chirrup of tree rats, saht-bai and weaver birds. A troop of brown monkeys settled in the branches of the peepul tree, and a faint breeze off the river stirred the tall elephant grass and made a dry, monotonous rustling . . ."
--from M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions

Thanks again to Gloria and Ted for sharing these beautiful photos of a magical and mysterious place.

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