Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taj Mahal

It seems a little ridiculous to write a post about my experience at the Taj Mahal without including any photos.  Sadly, I don't have the means at the moment to do so, so I will just give you a brief summary and say that it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life.  I was absolutely blown away by how perfect it is.  I don't remember a famous monument that hasn't let me down at the very least a tiny bit (and in some cases it's been downright heartbreaking) when I have actually seen it in person.  The Taj Mahal is more stunning, more breathtaking, more awe-inspiring, more gorgeous than I could even have imagined.  From the second we walked through the gate until the second we left, I could not get enough of it.  Around every corner, I wanted to take another picture to try to capture its beauty (resulting in dozens of essentially the same shot haha!).  With every change of light I fell in love again.  I sat and stared at it for hours, trying not only to remember every possible detail about the moment, but attempting to convince myself that I was actually in the presence of something so transcendent.  One of the most incredible experiences of my life!!!

Sept 2, 2012:
Finally getting some pics up!!!

Stonework detail just outside the mausoleum entrance.

A cheeky picture taken inside the mausoleum.  I just couldn't rely on myself to describe the level of detail and ornamentation so I risked getting a sharp whistle in my ear to get this shot (and quite a few others). 

Kind of wish the guy wasn't in the shot because I love the way she is admiring the building.  He was more curious about me haha!  Not sure why though because as you will see in the next photo everyone is taking photos of everyone everywhere.  

This perfectly captured the reality of the scene.  I wanted to get a shot of the woman in blue gazing at the building.  I loved the idea of the bright color standing alone against the creamy stone, her thoughts on the building in a moment of silence. As in many of my photos in India, however, reality cannot be avoided, solitude rarely exists.  So I got a shot that truly shows the mix of activity and stillness at the same time. Couldn't be more representative of the moment. 

I really really love this photo!  I was asked to be in and take many photos of people throughout India  (as you will see in my post on Amritsar) but this stands out as one of the best.  Normally people came up to me, smiling incessantly, asking me to be in a photo.  I was charmed by their gorgeous smiles and friendliness time and time again.  But in the photos, they lose all emotion and put on a completely blank face.  That's the culture, fair enough, but it loses all the wonderful personality!  I was able to catch these two in a moment before they prepared their camera faces.  So glad I did!

These women were not wearing the stunning saris that many other women had.  This is not the Taj Mahal but a neighboring building that pales in comparison to the radient beauty beside it.  But I just really loved this moment.  People here felt so natural, so at ease.  In many national monuments I've been to around the world, the name of the game is to get in and out and check it off your list.  Throughout India, however, people traveled for hours or days to get to these destinations and they really spent time experiencing the space.  They brought picnics, they sat around chatting, they napped, they lingered, they became a part of the scene, not just detached observers/photo takers.  I loved the Taj and was swept away by its beauty but there is also something to be said for this atmosphere making it an even more moving experience.  

Oh and the usual cartwheel photo :)