Pristine

The Taj Mahal.

Saying its name immediately conjures a picture in everyone’s mind: perfect symmetry and pristine white. It achieves the impossible, a grand structure creating an image of pure serenity.

Taj with Mosque

But look closer. No… even closer. The Taj Mahal is covered with an intricate lacework of marble inlay. Yes, it is a grand structure, but it is comprised of myriad small stones fitted together so perfectly that you imagine it is just one single piece. It is the work of countless artisans who cut and shaped and fitted every piece into this marvelous whole.

The descendants of these nameless artists still practice their craft in the workshops of Agra. They sit cross-legged on the floors of their shops, holding bits of marble against a rotating grind wheel. Working day after day, their fingers are slowly whittled down as well. If asked, they will show your their hands, with the index fingers shaped to an angled point. They smile with pride, knowing they are part of a tradition that has created the most sublime of structures.  There is something pristine in their love of their ancient art.

Taj Detail 3

23 Comments

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  1. The Tale Light Trekkers August 27, 2016 — 9:16 am

    Your title is PERFECT! Beautiful photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! The Traveloguer is back. Your travelogues are the only ones I’ve read that do justice/depth to the Travel Experience. This one subtitled, perhaps, Taj Mahal, the Celebration of Tedium that undergirds all Art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An Absolutely gorgeous Photograph! Yes, the Artisans deserve to be saluted, especially today where craftmanship is being sacrificed in the name of Efficiency… I just heard this morning of someone building a house with styrofoam mouldings….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Art of the highest order. Beautifully described by your mind and eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. fpaulbutler@gmail.com August 27, 2016 — 9:18 pm

    You are back to work again. You really should turn out more “travelogues”. We are fortunate to have you. And you are fortunate because not only have you visited so many places others will never get to go to, but you are gifted with the the words to give the sights of the world life and special meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post with amazing photographs. Thank you dear Nadia, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The photos are superb. The structure is so hauntingly beautiful but I am afraid that I find the story about the artisans who produce the art through their craft to be very disturbing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan. I loved being able to focus on the detail of the Taj, which just makes the whole thing even more grand. And I completely understand your discomfort. I just have to say that this structure, and others like it, for me, challenge one’s perspective on the importance of the individual.

      Like

  8. I keep going back to your photos that show the exquisite detail of the inlay work. I have seen many photos of the Taj Mahal, never any as revealing as yours. Many succumb to purple prose in writing about the Taj Mahal, not you. I love your description of the craftsmen. Well done, Nadia.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrei Barbu Photography September 1, 2016 — 3:34 am

    Great photographs, love the sky color and the contrast in the second one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. great details and beauty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Shekhar Srivastava September 3, 2016 — 4:20 am

    Pictures are matchless…you may visit my blog about Taj Mahal and see pics of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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