Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

Archive for June, 2011

30 Jun

The Taj Mosque and Jam’at-Khanah, Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Jawab Answer Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Arch Door Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Ceiling Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Detail Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Inside Arches Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Open Door Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Outside Detail Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Stairs To Window Taj Mahal Agra India

Jawab Answer Top Of Arch Taj Mahal Agra India

The Taj Mosque and Jamat Khanah Sign Taj Mahal Agra India

(as per sign)

The Taj Mosque & Jam’at Khanah (1631-48)

The Taj Mosque is built on a raised platform on the western side of the main, white marble tomb and its exact replica is there on its eastern side, in perfect symmetry. The eastern building is called ‘Jamat-Khanah’ or ‘Mehman-Khanah’. It is noteworthy that, more than fulfilling the need of a house of prayer and a house of assembly, these identical buildings flank the main tomb effectively and help to present the white marble monument in an aesthetic setting and thus do they form an integral part of the Taj design.

The façade of the mosque is composed of a central iwan, flanked on either side by a single arch entrance of almost half the dimensions. Ornamental arches have been framed above these side arches. Octagonal towers attached to the corners are surmounted by octagonal chhatris, while the turrets attached to the quoins of the iwan and side arches are crowned by pinnacles. The interior is composed of three bays which are roofed by three bulbous domes, the central one on the nave being larger. Padmakosh and kalash finials have been used to crown them as usual. The domes, chhatris and pinnacles combine to make up a beautiful superstructure. Dados have carved naturalistic plant designs. The rest of the mural space, including the ceiling, is either paneled to bear ornamental cartouches, or finished with incised painting in red and white colours, in highly stylized designs. Though it is built of red sandstone, white marble has been used on a large scale, e.g. on the domes and cupolas of the chhatris, and in the spandrels of the arches inlaid with rare polychrome stones. The total effect is simple, yet graceful.

The Jam’at-Khanah on the eastern side is exactly similar to the mosque except that it does not have a mihrab (central niche denoting the direction of the Ka’bah), minbar (pulpit), musallas (arched spaces marked in the pavement), zenana (ladies) seciont enclosed by marble railing, quranic inscription, or tank (hauz) in its front. But it has a curious historical record made in stone. At the northern end of its platform, in its front, is inlaid by black marble, an exact replica of the Kalash finial which crowned the main dome of the Taj Mahal. It measures 30 feet 6 inch in length and the width of the crescent is 5 feet 4.5 inch. The present finial measures 32 feet and 5.5 inch. The original, thick gold plated kalash measured 30 feet 6 inches. It was replaced by Captain Joseph Taylor in 1810. The second one was again replaced in 1876 by a finial which measured 32 feet. The third one was replaced in 1940 and the present on is thus, the fourth finial in succession. The replica of the finial was made on the platform of the Jam’at-Khanah by Nathjram in 1888 as a memorial to the original finial. It is remarkable that both these are monumental buildings capable of standing independently anywhere else.

29 Jun

How Did The Cave Form? Harrison’s Cave, Barbados

Sign How Did The Cave Form Harrisons Cave Barbados

Limestone Formation Shell Like Harrisons Cave Barbados

Pillar Limestone Formations Harrisons Cave Barbados

Stream Cave Harrisons Cave Barbados

(as per sign)

How Did The Cave Form?

The limestone of Barbados is porous and fractured – the rock contains many tiny holes, cracks and fissures that allow water to pass through the rock. As water finds its way through the limestone directly, or through the gullies, it dissolves the rock as it flows. Eventually the water reaches the underlying oceanic sediments that form an impenetrable layer called an aquitard. The water flows towards the sea along the top of the aquitard layer dissolving the limestone above and forming a stream cave.

28 Jun

Saris At The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Woman Taking Photo Taj Mahal Agra India

Women in Saris Near Gate Taj Mahal Agra India

Women In Saris Walking To Taj Mahal Agra India

The bright colors of women’s saris really pop against the white and clay backgrounds of the Taj Mahal, the side buildings, and the gates.

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