Greetings from one of the most famous and most photographed places in India.
Our train was a couple hours late arriving at the station in Agra so our Taj time was cut short but I still managed to get some decent shots. Except one. I started doing a handstand and was stopped by a guard. Apparently you can only stand upright for pictures here.
The money shot, sans scaffolding
Taj Mahal translated from Arabic means Crown Palace, which is misleading because no one actually lived here. Quite the opposite, actually. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the mausoleum built in 1632 to house his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. He was later buried there as well.
I always thought it was just the white centerpiece and surrounding four towers topped with minarets but the complex encompasses 42 acres and several other structures. It's flanked by two red sandstone structures on each side; one is a mosque and the other is thought to be a guest house. It took 20,000 workers over 20 years to complete the project and would cost 52.8 billion rupees ($827 million USD) by today's currency (source: wikipedia).
One of the reasons for this insane pricetag is that all the colored details are not painted but in fact it is inlayed marble. No wonder this incredible piece of architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage site.