|The Taj Mahal, Agra, India|
In the spring of 2000, when I went to India for an author visit at a school in New Delhi, my hosts arranged to take me to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. I knew it was a famous tomb memorializing the love between a great emperor and his wife, but I was unprepared for its stunning beauty. As I stepped through the gate and saw the shining white domes framed against the sky, I was amazed by the elegance of the design and the perfect placement of the building in its surroundings. I stayed until sunset and returned again at dawn.
|Gardens around the Taj Mahal are filled with flowers and birds|
|Inlaid stones decorate every surface of this column|
|Craftsmen today continue the tradition of stone-inlay work|
|View of the Taj Mahal from the Mosque|
The love story of the Taj Mahal is based largely on legend, for little has been recorded of the personal lives of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal together, as this would have been a sensitive topic, especially in an Islamic culture and society.
The Taj Mahal is one of the supreme accomplishments of the Mughal Empire. It has become a symbol to the rest of the world of the craftsmanship and artistic achievements of all of India. It is also a symbol of universal love.
My book, Taj Mahal, which chronicles the love story and the building of the Taj Mahal, is a collaboration with Madeleine Comora and illustrated by her husband Rahul Bhushan with beautiful paintings in the style of Mughal miniatures of the time. It was published by Carolrhoda Books in 2007. You can read about our collaborative process at my September 2l, 2011 Art and Books blog.