Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I wonder why the Taj is a wonder!

In the last one and half years, we could get to travel to a few historic places (thanks to wife's interest in them!). And amongst all of them, the one that was most boring was the Taj Mahal! Yes, I said it! 

Since our visit to the Taj Mahal a couple of weeks, we keep on thinking - why exactly is a wonder? Wonder of the world that too! 

Wiki Answers webpage gives this reason

The Taj Mahal is a unique, massive, impressive architectural accomplishment of it's time, 55 meters high. The Statue of Liberty could fit inside it easily (46m).

It is considered by many who have seen it to be the most beautiful building ever built. The date of its completion plus the reason for its existence, add to the wondrous nature of the structure.

Unique? Let's sample something unique below:

This picture is from Ellora Caves. The Kailashnath temple here has been carved out of a single rock, from the top! 

There are more pictures that I can post, but this whole place is amazing beyond description. The attention to detail at so many places inside the "cave", the designs, the paintings, the artchitecture etc were so mesmerizing - and guess what - this is Unique too! I wondered then, why this is not a wonder of the world.  Another example of some amazing carvings:

At this point of time, I hadn't visited the Taj Mahal. We covered Ajantha caves by then. Out of all the caves at both Ajantha and Ellora, this one stood out. In case you forgot, this was carved from the top! So just imagine the effort and thought process that must have gone into the planning and execution of this superb project back in the 7th century (Taj Mahal is a 15th century construction!). And sadly, this is not a wonder of the world. 

Anyways, let's come back to Wiki Answer. Massive, impressive architectural accomplishment. 

Take a look at the Amber Palace near Jaipur. 

Massive, right? Impressive, right? Architectural accomplishment, right? No, not happy? Fine, take a look at the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur. 

Let's zoom in a bit, just in case you are not able to gauge the massiveness of this fort.

At many places, you wouldn't know where the mountain rock is ending and the fort wall begins - such is the beauty of this fort. 

I have many more pictures that I took of these palaces and forts in a recent vacation - was bowled over by the details of planning (that included rain-water harvesting methods, drinking water canals, huge canons, strong walls, etc) that went into the construction of these places. I am pretty sure there are many more such massive, impressive, architectural accomplishments in the country - and most importantly, all of them have multiple stories and sacrifices associated with them. 

And these were all constructed before the Taj Mahal. So I still keep wondering - why is the Taj Mahal a wonder of the world? "Symbol of Love" seems to be a very very stupid reason. So anything else? Or did it just get lucky with the hype of being a "symbol of love"? 

Next time, someone sends me a mail asking to vote for Taj Mahal - they are going to the link to this post! 

For completeness sake, here's a picture of Taj Mahal we took - It is huge, no doubt about it, but that's about it.