The Taj Majal, Agra, India 2017

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During a recent trip to India, I had the privilege to visit of the most famous and most often photographed sites in India, the Taj Majal.   I had seen many fantastic photographs of this place but was somewhat skeptical if it would be as impressive as others have stated.  However, I am happy to say that this place is truly one of the world's most amazing sites.  This massive marble structure was built between 1632-1643 as a mausoleum by the emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in childbirth.  He poured massive resources in its construction and vowed that the world would never forget his loves name.  The Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.    The surrounding gardens are massive and were intended to symbolize the four flowing revivers of Paradise.  It is challenging to photograph one of the most photographed places on earth. Regardless, these images will always remind me of the awe I felt during my visit and I hope that a few others might appreciate the strong cultural beauty and impressiveness of this truly unique site.

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I arrived to enter the Taj Mahal at 5:30 AM with only a handful of tourists during the extremely hot low tourist season.  While the heat was almost unbearable by 7:00 AM, it allowed me to photograph undisturbed with only minimal number of tourists and I could include only the people I wanted in my images. 

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Unfortunately, this awesome tomb is now challenged from severe pollution that is discoloring and etching the marble, extreme climate conditions and dropping water levels in the nearby Yamuna river which are shifting the underlying soil.  These have led to dire predictions for a loss of structural integrity to the Taj.    Tourism and vandalism also pose serious threats.  

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This beautiful red sandstone mosque sits next to the Taj Mahal and was completed in 1643. 

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I hope you enjoy these images of this spectacular site and just might inspire you to someday witness the awe of this incredible place for yourselves.