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
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.
and one last photo of the Taj Mahal,
before we drive on towards Jaipur.