By Brij Khandelwal
Agra: Why is the Taj Mahal, the 17th century monument of love, the most photographed building in the world?
“Almost each visitor has a mobile camera phone these days, and no one wants to miss an opportunity to take a selfie with the iconic Taj Mahal. Those who are with friends or family members take dozens of photos from different angles and yet are not satisfied,” tourist guide Ved Gautam said here.
The lore and mythology woven around the Taj Mahal fascinate everyone, and especially those in love, say photographers at the Taj Mahal.
“At any time of the day there is a huge rush for a shot of the Taj Mahal from the Diana seat at the central pond,” says photographer Amit Kohli. “Each minute you can hear hundreds of cameras clicking evergreen, lifetime photos.”
It is truly memorable and a proud moment to be photographed against what appears to be a divine monument of love, said a tourist from New Zealand.
The facility of instant sharing on social media allows sharing precious moments with friends and relatives back home, added another tourist.
The Taj continues to mesmerize visitors. After the rains, it looks dazzling white in the bright sun.
“Shoot from anywhere, the picture will be perfect and unique. That is the geometrical finesse and astounding architectural craftsmanship of this building,” says an elderly professional photographer for over 30 years.
The Taj is annually visited by over seven million people. Unofficial figures are 10 million, as children below 15 do not have to purchase an entry ticket.
Each day hordes of photographers – both amateurs and professionals – shoot pictures of the white marble mausoleum, bringing joy and excitement to those who pose against its backdrop.
“It’s the architecture, the perspective, and the unique backdrop which includes the Yamuna and a whitish skyline that appears to extend to eternity that I find most appealing,” a member of the Photographers’ Club said.
A member of the family of Agra’s oldest photography firm, Priya Lal and Sons, says the Taj Mahal will never lose its fascination and awe.
“It is one building with immaculate, ‘nayaab’ (unique) dimensions, perfect lighting conditions, such variety of angles and contrasts, what else could a photographer want? And if you take into account its history and the romanticism associated with it, who would not like to be photographed with it,” said Vishal of Nice Studio.
Wildlife photographer Lalit Rajora, who began his journey 25 years ago from the Taj Mahal, says the Taj Mahal will always remain “my first love.”
“Taj Mahal, with its enticing beauty, has an eternal fascination for me. Its aesthetic beauty, pristine crafts-manship and grandeur lure me again and again,” he said.
Many tourists who had seen the Taj Mahal years ago, return in wonder to discover how the monument looks more “beautiful” than before.
Several others vouch the monument looks exactly the same, or even better than, the photograph of it they saw back home.
Another photographer said: “The sun rises from the east on the left and traverses the whole distance to the right (west) providing different contrasts, shades and colours – never a dull moment. Each angle is different, its symmetry and geometry are perfect and flawless. There is a mix of colours – red sandstone juxtaposed with white marble and a profusion of green vegetation, with shades of blue and white.”
Most agree there is hardly another man-made building that offers such magnificence and variety. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal is not artificially lit.
Seventy five-year-old Surendra Sharma, associated with Agra’s Fine Art Studio, said the Taj is a living and breathing monument. It communicates and reflects the mood outside. People are enchanted with its poetry of romance. The best view is from the main entrance when the monument looks “like a portrait framed for eternity, against inifinity.”
Amateur photographer Vikas Sharma describes the Taj Mahal as a veiled beauty, intensifying its mystic charm against grey clouds. He claims the Taj Mahal is a spiritual place and you feel the divinity as you move around the mausoleum.
No wonder visitors to the Taj Mahal never fail to take away a picture back home, making it the most photographed monument in the world.