I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Don't blame this one on me

This is the inside of the Taj Mahal. No photographs are allowed inside, and after berating other tourists who were breaking the rules, my guide took this picture on my phone.

He explained that photos were banned because they needed to keep the crowds moving, but we weren't blocking anyone. (A kind of dubious justification if you ask me, but he didn't.)

So the quality is what we deserved under the circumstances, but honestly you can't really see that much inside. It's sumptuously decorated, with elaborate carvings and inlaid semiprecious stones on the walls, beneath Persian arches and that massive dome. But it's dark and hot and very, very crowded, so you can appreciate the craftsmanship outside much better.

And of course, it is a tomb. Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves, so the sarcophagi behind those elaborate marble screens are empty; the actual graves of Shah Jahan and the wife he built the monument for, Mumtaz Mahal, are underground. (She died giving birth to their 14th child, and, honestly, who can blame her?) 

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