Travelogue

Impressions of India – Architecture 1

For the context of this article, it is only the impressions of forts, palaces, temples and buildings I have selectively visited in the Golden Triangle (Delhi – Agra – Jaipur) and Rajasthan. It is by all means not comprehensive. After a while, one feels tires seeing another fort, another temple, another haveli that looks similar. Due to time constrain, I only select few photos to share because there are plenty of good pictures from travel sites.

Overall impression: IMPRESSIVE! For what were build hundreds of years ago. The vision of the architects and the skills of the workers were admirable, given the limited resources and technologies. So, modern people should complain less of what cannot be done.

The crown jewel is the one of the most photographed buildings in the world: Taj Mahal. It is breathtaking, or more stunt by the mythical beauty of the soft reflection of the morning rays on the marble surface. It is just very different from the typical red color fort and over decorative palaces.

With millions of tourist visit her tomb, I am not really sure if Shah Jahan (the Mughal Emperor) enticipated the spotlight his late and beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal received centuries after she’s gone. To the common folks, their ancester left behind a golden goose which bring fortune and fame to the city (Agra).

The walk way beside Yamuna river, with the plinth marble wall.

What Shah Jahan couldn’t expect would be imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb, locked him up opposite side of the river at Agra Fort (Musamman Burj), overlooking the beloved wife tomb. Could see but couldn’t touch. That was touching and yet a sad story.

Riverside view of Jahangiri Mahal

The ingenuity and luxury nature of the empire lifestyle can be easily seen in the elaborate decoratives, sculpture and water features. Water is precious resources in dry and desert area, so wells, water fountains, flower gardens are all luxury features.

Other common feature and distinctive Islamic style arches and symmetricity patterns. The brilliant architect can consider lighting, perspective and climate factors to make building a work of art and science. A simple picture reveals the layers of natural tones of the different compartments.

Another view of differerent application of arches from inside to outside the building. It automatically creates visual effect of multi-dimension for the dwellers. We hardly see this in modern home.

Jalis are the screens that allow the ladies to peek and to see the outside world without stepping out from our confined space. Many found in the palaces and forts were carved from single piece of marble or stone. Very artistic and practical design.

The eloborate decoratives are everywhere, on the doorways, on the ceilings.

No wonder a fort takes hundreds of years to add-on and to expand the constructure. It takes 10+ years just to complete one building and you often find complexes of buildings in palaces and forts. Hard to imagine.

My favorite is Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur. It was build on 410 feet rock platform since 1459. If you look at this tower, which was built on top of the rock, it can only be described as magnificient and unbelievable.

When I look down from the tower, I see a sea of blue houses. So Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City. The myth was the that blue color keeps mosquitoes away and keeps house cool during summer. You can see some dis-obedient offspring who painted non-blue color 🙂

continue on part 2

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