The Taj from the garden, Agra.
Photographer: Impey, Eugene Clutterbuck
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 80 albumen prints taken by Eugene Clutterbuck Impey, with a view of the Taj Mahal from its gardens. The Taj Mahal was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-58) as a mausoleum for his favourite wife Arjumand Banu Begum who died in 1631. Shah Jahan was an aesthete and lover of architecture and unsurprisingly he chose to express his feelings of love and loss through the medium of an unique building. Built of India’s finest marble, quarried at Makrana in Rajasthan, the colour of the Taj changes according to different light conditions. According to the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who witnessed some of its construction, 20000 artisans took 12 years to construct it and it was completed by 1643. The complex comprises a raised terrace at one end on which are the main structures, and a lower char-bagh (four-plot) garden. The gardens were laid out from 1632 to 1654. These have a large central pool with four water-channels dividing the garden into quarters. Along the main water-channel leading to the front of the tomb are water jets, while the sides are lined with cypress trees.