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‘Visitors’ PERSPECTIVE I Oh! My!! The Taj
 



Celebrities Visiting Taj l Impressions About Taj


Celebrities Visiting Taj :


Innumerable visitors have remarked on the immateriality of the mausoleum: A glimpse -

Even specific associations made by Shah Jahan's poets, like the comparison of the Taj to an insubstantial cloud, were echoed unknowingly by later visitors.

After the British 'discovered' it in the late 18th century the Taj Mahal became a must on the itinerary of every traveller to India, and the visitors and their comments have made cultural history in themselves.

One of the most enduring responses to the Taj was the perception of its otherworldliness and immateriality. The Western viewers recognized spontaneously, despite coming from different cultures and without having read the contemporary Mughal texts, the intention that it should represent an edifice nor of this world. The building itself conveyed its message, speaking directly through its forms and materials.

“... and, 'after hearing its praises ever since I had been in India', felt that 'its beauty rather exceeded than fell short of my expectations'. The central hall of the mausoleum to him 'about as large as the interior of the Ratcliffe [sic] library at Oxford where he had studied. He did not, however, like ledorneand the minarets: 'the bulbous swell of the former I think clumsy, and the minarets have nothing to recommend them but their height and the beauty of their materials'.___Reginald Heber (1783-1826). Anglican Bishop of Calcutta [Saw the Taj on 13 January 1825]

The most famous statement is perhaps that of the wife of Captain Sleeman, when after their visit to the Taj in January 1836 her husband asked what she thought of it, she answered, 'I cannot tell you what I think, for I know not how to criticize such a building, but I can tell you what I feel. I would die tomorrow to have such another over me.

In the previous year Fanny Parks had expressed a similar sentiment: 'And now adieu! -Beautiful Taj - adieu! In the far, far West I shall rejoice that I have gazed upon your beauty; nor will the memory depart until the lowly tomb of an English gentlewoman closes on my remains.

Another female traveller, the perceptive Ida Pfeiffer, who came to Agra from Vienna in January 1848, was the first modern observer to voice the idea that the mausoleum was meant not only to be a magnificent burial for Mumtaz Mahal but was also to testify to the glory of Shah Jahan: 'Properly speaking the Sultan's memory is more perpetuated by this building than that of his favourite, for everyone who saw it would involuntarily ask who created it.



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