Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Agra part 3 - an unexpected gem

On our second day in Agra we were supposed to get up early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise, but as it was very misty our guide suggested we should visit the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, sometimes known as the Baby Taj. This was built in the 1620s as a mausoleum for the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal (for whom the Taj Mahal was built) who was a minister of state.

It's important because it was the first example of the use of white marble in Mughal architecture, but it is much more than that. The gatehouse is giving little away about what is inside . . .

As we arrived early we were the only ones there at first. 

This gem is encrusted with pattern - 

cut and inlaid stone on the outside 

and paintings on the inside

Opposite the mausoleum itself is a smaller red sandstone building with painted decorations depicting perfume bottles - a Persian design. Again you can see the Mughal love of symmetry.

It is surrounded by extensive gardens and water gardens which are being renovated - these workers had just carried that rickety bamboo tower into place to work on the walls 

this woman was a gardener, collecting stones in her basket.

Whole flocks of mynah birds, parrots and eagles seemed to be enjoying the peace (and the food provided by the garden workers) but only this one posed for his picture.

The whole thing sits on the other side of the river from Agra itself.

After this unexpected delight we made a last visit to the Taj, this time by the West gate, to be greeted by camels (or rather ignored by camels). Agra is in Uttar Pradesh, but Rajasthan and the Thar desert is not far.

Also this rather posh bike shed

Time for a bit of people watching 

and one last photo of the Taj Mahal, 

before we drive on towards Jaipur.


Joanne Crewdson said...

WOW! it looks amazing - all those patterns and colours - can't wait to se your crafty projects following this trip! xx

Terry Donaldson said...

You might be waiting a while .... #sensoryoverload. 🙃

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Adie Boyes said...

Loving your blog - amazing architecture, such vibrant colours at every turn and a monkey! Great to see some pictures of my big sister too! Looking forward to the cycle tour blog to follow. . . hope you've all got an abundant supply chamois cream to hand!!

Terry Donaldson said...

Hi Adie

hadn't spotted your comment - sorry (internet less than reliable!). Survived the cycling as you will have seen by now - chamois cream only needed for the longer rides! Chickened out and walked up Ooty hill!