1. The Largest Art Deco-style Sculpture
Christ the Redeemer, Portuguese Cristo Redentor, colossal statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil. It was completed in 1931 and stands 98 feet (30 metres) tall, its horizontally outstretched arms spanning 92 feet (28 metres). The statue, made of reinforced concrete clad in a mosaic of thousands of triangular soapstone tiles, sits on a square stone pedestal base about 26 feet (8 metres) high, which itself is situated on a deck atop the mountain’s summit. The statue is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world and is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most recognizable landmarks.
In the 1850s the Vincentian priest Pedro Maria Boss suggested placing a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado to honour Isabel, princess regent of Brazil and the daughter of Emperor Pedro II, although the project was never approved. In 1921 the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro proposed that a statue of Christ be built on the 2,310-foot (704-metre) summit, which, because of its commanding height, would make it visible from anywhere in Rio. Citizens petitioned Pres. Epitácio Pessoa to allow the construction of the statue on Mount Corcovado.
Permission was granted, and the foundation stone of the base was ceremonially laid on April 4, 1922—to commemorate the centennial on that day of Brazil’s independence from Portugal—although the monument’s final design had not yet been chosen. That same year a competition was held to find a designer, and the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen on the basis of his sketches of a figure of Christ holding a cross in his right hand and the world in his left. In collaboration with Brazilian artist Carlos Oswald, Silva Costa later amended the plan; Oswald has been credited with the idea for the figure’s standing pose with arms spread wide. The French sculptor Paul Landowski, who collaborated with Silva Costa on the final design, has been credited as the primary designer of the figure’s head and hands. Funds were raised privately, principally by the church. Under Silva Costa’s supervision, construction began in 1926 and continued for five years. During that time materials and workers were transported to the summit via railway.
After its completion, the statue was dedicated on October 12, 1931. Over the years it has undergone periodic repairs and renovations, including a thorough cleaning in 1980, in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Brazil that year, and a major project in 2010, when the surface was repaired and refurbished. Escalators and panoramic elevators were added beginning in 2002; previously, in order to reach the statue itself, tourists climbed more than 200 steps as the last stage of the trip. In 2006, to mark the statue’s 75th anniversary, a chapel at its base was consecrated to Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil.
2. The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world — the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some great scenery.
The Great Wall facts
Chinese name: (Chángchéng /channg-chnng/ 'Long Wall')
Location: Northern China
Length: 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi), all known sections were measured
History: more than 2,300 years
20 amazing facts about the Great Wall
1. The official length is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi) — (6+ dynasties' worth)
2. Most of today's relics are the Ming Dynasty Great Wall: length 8,851 km (5,500 mi).
3. The Great Wall is more than 2,300 years old.
4. The Ming Great Wall crosses 9 provinces and municipalities: Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu.
5. Badaling is the most visited section (63,000,000 visitors in 2001). And in the first week of May and October, the visitor flow can be up to 70,000 per day.
6. The average height of the Great Wall at Badaling and Juyong Pass is 7.88 meters, and the highest place is 14 meters high.
7. Nearly 1/3 of the Great Wall has disappeared without trace.
8. Since 1644, when the Ming Dynasty was overthrown, no further work has been done on the Great Wall (for military purposes — some has been restored for tourism).
9. Great Wall reconstruction and protection began with Badaling in 1957.
10. In December 1987 the Great Wall was placed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
11. The Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space by the human eye without aid.
12. The Great Wall is not a continuous line: there are side walls, circular walls, parallel walls, and sections with no wall (high mountains or rivers form a barrier instead). In the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), glutinous rice flour was used to bind the Great Wall bricks.
13. The Great Wall labor force included soldiers, forcibly-recruited peasants, convicts, and POWs.
14. The First Emperor of Qin was not the first to build the Great Wall. He linked the northern walls of the states he conquered.
15. There most popular Great Wall legend is about Meng Jiangnv, whose husband died building the Wall. Her weeping was so bitter that a section of the Wall collapsed, revealing her husband's bones so she could bury them.
16. The Gubeikou Section of the Great Wall has bullet holes in it, evidence of the last battle fought at the Great Wall .
17. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), many Great Wall bricks were used in building homes, farms, or reservoirs.
18. The northwestern Great Wall sections (e.g. in Gansu and Ningxia provinces) are likely to disappear in 20 years, due to desertification and change in human land use.
19. The Jiankou Section of the Great Wall, known for being steep and winding, enjoys the most appearances on Great Wall picture books and post cards.
20. The most famous section of the Great Wall — Badaling — has been visited by over 300 heads of state and VIPs from around the world. The first of which was Soviet statesman Klim Voroshilov in 1957.
Who Built the Great Wall, and When
It's often said that the First Emperor of Qin built the Great Wall. Actually he was not the first to build it. See below.
Dynasty Great Wall History — Key Events
Zhou Dynasty The (Pre-) Warring States Period (770–221 BC) State overlords built state border walls.
The Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC) The First Emperor of Qin linked the Great Wall sections on China's northern border.
The Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) Han Wudi extended the Great Wall west to Yumen Pass and beyond.
The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Hero General Qi Jiguang rebuilt the Great Wall around Beijing.
Why the Great Wall Was Built
The Great Wall was built to prevent invasion and protect silk road trade.
To prevent invasion
To protect Silk Road trade
In the Qin Dynasty, the First Emperor of Qin inked the northern walls to prevent invasion from northern nations. In the Han Dynasty, the emperors extended the Great Wall far into today's western China to protect Silk Road trade.
Studying the history of the Great Wall is complicated because lengths of wall were built in different areas at different periods in history to protect different territorial borders, and in some places lengths of wall have been rebuilt on top of previously destroyed or eroded wall.
The Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC)
It's generally believed that the first parts of the Great Wall were built during the Spring and Autumn Period, when the eastern and central region of what is now China consisted of many small states or princedoms.
To protect their states the princes ordered independent walls be built along state borders. These were like the Great Wall in construction, but on a smaller scale. The earliest was probably built between the states of Lu and Qi around 650 BC, which later became part of the Chu State Wall.
The Warring States Period (475–221 BC)
As rival states fought for territory and power, the influence of the Zhou kings waned. The small states were joined together by warlords by the beginning of the Warring States Period to form seven large states. (Chu, Qi, Wei, Yan, Zhao, Qin, and Han)
Each state had its own defensive walls, like several short Great Walls.
The Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC)
Qin Dynasty Great Wall Map The First Emperor, who had the Terracotta Army built, linked the walls of the northern states.
The outcome of the Warring States Period was that the State of Qin proved to be the stronger, conquering and unifying the other states. Qin Shihuang (king of the State of Qin from 247–221 BC) became the first emperor of China and ruled China for most of the short Qin Dynasty.
Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered that the northern sections of wall on state borders, especially the walls in the northern part of China built by the states of Qin, Zhao and Yan, be joined together to form a unified line of defense against Mongol harassment from the north, the first true Great Wall. It took a million workers 9 years. Other state border walls became obsolete in a unified China and were subsequently eroded or dismantled.
When it was finished, the total length of wall exceeded 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), and became known as the 10,000-Li-Long-Wall (one li is 0.5 km). The Qin Great Wall wound its way from Linrao, Gansu Province in the west to the Liaodong Peninsula, Liaoning Province.
The Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)
thedunhuang great wallRuins of the wall of the Han Dynasty near Dunhuang, Gansu, in north China
After Qin Shihuang's death in 210 BC, the Qin Dynasty failed to maintain its authority and was replaced by the Han Dynasty. It was one of the golden ages of China when the nation was consolidated.
The northern fortifications were strengthened and lengthened, with sections of wall running parallel for hundreds of kilometers and interlinking along the Inner Mongolian border. The Han Dynasty Great Wall from the North Korea coast near Pyongyang in the east to Jade Gate Pass in the west was the longest the Great Wall has ever been at more than 8,000 km (5,000 miles). The total length included many branching walls, natural barriers, and trenches.
Other Feudal Dynasties (220–960)
The construction and maintenance of the Great wall continued for nearly all the Chinese feudal dynasties. The smaller and less powerful dynasties of fractured post-Han-Dynasty China (North Wei, North Qi, East Wei, and North Zhou) all spent a lot on the Great Wall.
The Great Wall was built to prevent invasion by northen nations (Mongols and Manchu) and protect silk road trade.
The Northern Qi Dynasty (550–577) was short but saw some significant additions comprising the Northern Qi Great Wall in the Shanxi Province area, including an 'Inner Great Wall' as a second line of defense against the Mongols.
The Sui Dynasty (581–618) saw extensive rebuilding of the Great Wall, while the following Tang Dynasty (618–907), the culmination of China's feudal age, didn't do any work on the Great wall owing to its superior power and advantage over its northern nomad neighbors.
The Song Dynasty (960–1279)
The Song Dynasty, known for its development of China's economy and trade, had a history of building the Great Wall to prevent invasions of Liao, Western Xia and Jin in the north and northwest. The Jin, or Manchus, hovever did get through the Great Wall and controlled the north of China during the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). The Jin Great Wall was unable to stop the vast Mongol Empire invading, consuming China, and beginning the Yuan Dynasty.
The Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)
The Yuan Dynasty was the first dynasty in which the whole of China was controlled by a non-Han people, the Mongols. The Great Wall had done a good job of preserving Han China for 1,500 years. Building of the Great Wall, not surprisingly, ceased during the Yuan Dynasty, as China and Mongolia to the north were one.
The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)
When the Yuan Dynasty collapsed due to civil unrest the Chinese Han once again took control under the command of rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, who became the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. China flourished during the Ming Dynasty and its military might swell. The Great Wall was systematically rebuilt in a 100-year project to prevent further northern invasion.
Most of the remaining Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty, and is known as the Ming Great Wall. The Great Wall sections close to Beijing like the Badaling section and Mutianyu section were built during the Ming Dynasty.
Post-Ming History (1644–present)
Jinshanling Great Wall The Great Wall of China today is a must-see attraction for China travelers.
A breach in the Great Wall at Shanhai Pass in 1644 by Manchu forces signaled the end of Han control in China for the last and final Chinese dynasty, the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). It also signaled the end of construction and maintenance of the Great Wall, until the Badaling section was restored by the government of the Peoples' Republic of China, and opened to the public in 1957 as a tourist attraction.
How the Great Wall was Built
The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. Families were separated, and many workers died and were interred as part of the Great Wall itself.
Workers: soldiers, peasants, rebels
Materials: stone, soil, sand, brick
Material delivery: by hand, rope, cart, goat (?)
The Great Wall's Structure — Walls, Watchtowers, Fortresses…
The Great Wall was not just a wall. It was an integrated military defensive system with watchtowers for surveillance, fortresses for command posts and logistics, beacon towers for communications, etc.
In the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), the Great Wall was reconstructed to be stronger and more sophisticated, due to better construction techniques being developed.
The wall body: The Ming Great Wall usually had battlements 1.8 meters (6 feet) high with loopholes and crenels, and parapet walls 1.2 meters (4 feet) high.
Flanking towers: Every 500 meters or less (1,640 feet) on the Great Wall there was a flanking tower allowing defenders to shoot arrows at attackers at the face of the wall.
Fortresses were built at important/vulnerable access points (passes), such as Shanhai Pass Fortress, Juyong Pass Fortress, and Jiayu Pass Fortress. There were many archery windows and gates on the forts. The fortress gatehouses were the strongest and most impregnable structures on the Great Wall.
For more structural details read The Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty.
Present Condition — 30%+ of the Great Wall Is Gone
the great wall at jiankou 30%+ of the Great Wall is gone.
Due to natural erosion and human damage, about 2,000 kilometers, or 30% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared. (Far more of previous dynasties' Great Wall sections is gone.)
Restoration and Protection to the Great Wall
To prevent further loss of the Great Wall, the Chinese Government has taken measures to protect it:
Laws to protect the Great Wall
Funds for protection, restoration, and maintenance
As individuals, we can do the follows to protect the Great Wall:
Plant trees to keep the Great Wall slopes protected from erosion
Don't litter and graffiti / remove trash and graffiti
Don't damage the Great Wall / take bricks home (it's illegal)
Great Wall Travel
3. Mysterious "Machu Picchu"
Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
Embedded within a dramatic landscape at the meeting point between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization. Recognized for outstanding cultural and natural values, the mixed World Heritage property covers 32,592 hectares of mountain slopes, peaks and valleys surrounding its heart, the spectacular archaeological monument of “La Ciudadela” (the Citadel) at more than 2,400 meters above sea level. Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until 1911 that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world.
The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.
The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked. Numerous subsidiary centres, an extensive road and trail system, irrigation canals and agricultural terraces bear witness to longstanding, often on-going human use. The rugged topography making some areas difficult to access has resulted in a mosaic of used areas and diverse natural habitats. The Eastern slopes of the tropical Andes with its enormous gradient from high altitude “Puna” grasslands and Polylepis thickets to montane cloud forests all the way down towards the tropical lowland forests are known to harbour a rich biodiversity and high endemism of global significance. Despite its small size the property contributes to conserving a very rich habitat and species diversity with remarkable endemic and relict flora and fauna.
Criterion (i): The Inca City of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the articulating centre of its surroundings, a masterpiece of art, urbanism, architecture and engineering of the Inca Civilization. The working of the mountain, at the foot of the Huaya Picchu, is the exceptional result of integration with its environment, the result from a gigantic effort as if it were an extension of nature.
Criterion (iii):The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a unique testimony of the Inca Civilization and shows a well-planned distribution of functions within space, territory control, and social, productive, religious and administrative organization.
Criterion (vii): The historic monuments and features in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are embedded within a dramatic mountain landscape of exceptional scenic and geomorphological beauty thereby providing an outstanding example of a longstanding harmonious and aesthetically stunning relationship between human culture and nature.
Criterion (ix): Covering part of the transition between the High Andes and the Amazon Basin the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu shelters a remarkably diverse array of microclimates, habitats and species of flora and fauna with a high degree of endemism. The property is part of a larger area unanimously considered of global significance for biodiversity conservation.
The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu meets the conditions of integrity, as the natural and human-made attributes and values that sustain its Outstanding Universal value are mostly contained within its boundaries. The visual ensemble linking the main archaeological site of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu with its striking mountain environment remains mostly intact.
It is desirable to extend the property to encompass an even broader spectrum of human-land relationships, additional cultural sites, such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and a larger part of the Urubamba watershed would contribute to strengthening the overall integrity. In particular, the value for the conservation of the many rare and endemic species of flora and fauna would benefit from the inclusion or a stronger management consideration of the adjacent lands. A considerable number of well-documented threats render the property vulnerable to losing its future integrity and will require permanent management attention.
Upon the abandonment of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu at the beginning of the sixteenth century, vegetation growth and isolation ensured the conservation of the architectural attributes of the property. Although the design, materials and structures have suffered slight changes due to the decay of the fabric, the conditions of authenticity have not changed. The rediscovery in 1911, and subsequent archaeological excavations and conservation interventions have followed practices and international standards that have maintained the attributes of the property.
Protection and management requirements
The state-owned Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an integral part of Peru’s national protected areas system and enjoys protection through several layers of a comprehensive legal framework for both cultural and natural heritage. The boundaries of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are clearly defined and the protected area is surrounded by a buffer zone exceeding the size of the property.
The Management Unit of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (UGM) was established in 1999 to lead the strategies contained in the Master Plans, which are the regularly updated governing documents for the management of the property. UGM was reactivated in 2011 and is comprised of representatives of the Ministries of Culture, Environment and Foreign Trade and Tourism, the Regional Government of Cusco, serving as the President of the Executive Committee, and the local municipality of Machu Picchu. A platform bringing together key governmental representatives at all levels is indispensable for the management of a property which forms part of Peru’s very identity and is the country’s primary domestic and international tourist destination.
Notwithstanding the adequate legislative and formal management framework, there are important challenges to the inter-institutional governance and the effectiveness of management and protection of the property. The dispersed legislation would benefit from further harmonization and despite existing efforts the involvement of various ministries and governmental levels ranging from local to national remains a complex task, including in light of the sharing of the significant tourism revenues. Tourism itself represents a double-edged sword by providing economic benefits but also by resulting in major cultural and ecological impacts. The strongly increasing number of visitors to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu must be matched by an adequate management regulating access, diversifying the offer and efforts to fully understand and minimize impacts. A larger appropriate and increasing share of the significant tourism revenues could be re-invested in planning and management. The planning and organization of transportation and infrastructure construction, as well as the sanitary and safety conditions for both tourists and new residents attracted by tourism requires the creation of high quality and new long-term solutions, and is a significant ongoing concern.
Since the time of inscription consistent concerns have been expressed about ecosystem degradation through logging, firewood and commercial plant collection, poor waste management, poaching, agricultural encroachment in the absence of clear land tenure arrangements, introduced species and water pollution from both urban waste and agro-chemicals in the Urubamba River, in addition from pressures derived from broader development in the region. It is important to remember that the overall risks are aggravated by the location in a high altitude with extreme topography and weather conditions and thus susceptibility to natural disasters. Continuous efforts are needed to comply with protected areas and other legislation and plans and prevent further degradation. There is also great potential for restoring degraded areas.
How to Visit:
4. Secrets bhehind Petra
Vast stacks of sandstone loom over the arid valley of Wadi Musa like giant handfuls of sun-baked clay. But even in this parched landscape, there are places where the sun casts no light. Walls 200m high keep the Siq permanently cast in shadow – it’s as though the long, narrow canyon passes through the dark heart of the mountain itself. Utterly silent at dawn, there is not even a bird’s chirrup to accompany solitary footsteps along its patchwork floor of rock and sand.
Through a lightning-bolt shaped opening, Petra announces itself with deliberate drama. The vast façade of the Treasury, precisely carved into the soft sandstone, towers over the young Bedouin men, camels and stray cats that congregate at its base.
The rediscovery of Petra
‘It is one of the most elegant remains of antiquity existing,’ the Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt wrote in his diary in 1812. When Burckhardt crossed Petra’s threshold, he was the first outsider to do so for over 600 years – hidden by its natural fortifications, the city had remained obscure to the West since the time of the Crusades. Though known to local Bedouin tribes, they were reluctant to reveal its existence, justifiably fearing an influx of treasure hunters.
In Petra’s heyday, around the time of Christ, the city had been anything but anonymous. Home to some 30,000 people, whose survival in this desert landscape was maintained by a complex system of water management, it was the centre of a kingdom four times the size of modern Jordan. At its helm were the Nabataeans, a once-nomadic Arab tribe who had used their knowledge of the desert to amass vast wealth in the caravan trade, most lucratively that of frankincense and myrrh. The Treasury’s grand edifice was a statement of their wealth, sending a powerful message to weary traders emerging through the Siq, but was essentially an empty shell. Built as a tomb for a Nabataean king, its misnomer ‘the Treasury’ came from the belief that the urn carved into the centre of the second tier contained hidden gold. The vessel is pockmarked with bullet holes, evidence of past attempts to uncover the mythical bounty.
But the treasure Burckhardt sought was intellectual rather than mercenary; he moved to Aleppo in Syria, mastered Arabic, converted to Islam and took the name Sheikh Ibrahim bin Abdullah. A deep tan and full beard further obscured the 27-year-old’s ethnicity, and he became a master of disguise, adopting local customs and testing his alias among the Bedouin.
Burckhardt’s secret plan
When, travelling south to Cairo, he heard rumour of ruins hidden among the mountains of Wadi Musa, he was quick to devise a ruse: ‘I pretended to have made a vow to have slaughtered a goat in honour of Haroun (Aaron), whose tomb I knew was situated in the extremity of the valley,’ he wrote, ‘and by this stratagem I thought that I should have the means of seeing the valley on the way to the tomb.’
His plan worked. Upon entering the city he was barely able to conceal his wonder from his guide. As the two made their way deeper into the valley, Burckhardt was gobsmacked by the sight of countless tombs and the great amphitheatre carved into the rock. He couldn’t resist scrambling up to explore. Then, as now, these caves were utterly bare; unadorned but for the veins of colour striped through the rock like a sort of natural wallpaper. Having surprised his guide with his incursions, Burckhardt was hurried to the city’s parched core, the Colonnaded Street and the temple of Qasr al-Bint. His attempt to wander the ruins of the latter was the final straw. ‘I see now clearly that you are an infidel!’ his guide exclaimed. Fearing that further aggravation might lead to the discovery of his own most treasured possession, his diary, Burckhardt dared venture no further.
Away from Petra’s tourist trail
Few tourists venture beyond Petra’s main sites, and with every camel hoof-step away from the city we are more alone – until there isn’t a single other person in sight. If the stretch from the Treasury to Qasr al-Bint is Petra’s high street, these outlying hills are the city’s suburbs.
Though the weather-worn rockface is still peppered with ancient dwellings and sepulchres, many are more modest. Some grander efforts lie unfinished – vestiges of an urban sprawl that came to an abrupt halt – and with these edifices it is possible to see the Nabataean technique of carving from top to bottom. Ascending further into the hills, we come across what must be one of the last tombs still used as a Bedouin family home. Small but ornate, its dark entrance-way has been filled with a solid door, and there’s a garden of plants and fruit trees. With the sun directly above us in the sky, we reach Haroun’s Terrace. From here, a small white mosque is visible. This is Jebel Haroun, thought to be biblical Mount Hor, where Moses’ brother Aaron (Haroun to Muslims) is buried – a sacred place for both Christians and Muslims.
The style displayed in Petra was a hodgepodge of influences absorbed along their trading routes: Egyptian, Assyrian, Hellenistic, Mesopotamian and Roman imagery injected with their own creative flourishes. Nowhere is the scale of their ambition more apparent than at Petra’s biggest monument, the Monastery, carved deep into the mountainside. It is easy to imagine the hours of chiselling and carving that went into its creation. Even reaching the Monastery requires work – it sits at the top of an 800-step rock-cut path, following the route trod by the faithful when this was a place of worship.
5. Human and Wild Animals Fight..."Colosseum"
Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater known as the Colosseum was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights. After four centuries of active use, the magnificent arena fell into neglect, and up until the 18th century it was used as a source of building materials. Though two-thirds of the original Colosseum has been destroyed over time, the amphitheater remains a popular tourist destination, as well as an iconic symbol of Rome and its long, tumultuous history.
ORIGINS OF THE COLOSSEUM
Even after the decadent Roman emperor Nero took his own life in A.D. 68, his misrule and excesses fueled a series of civil wars. No fewer than four emperors took the throne in the tumultuous year after Nero’s death; the fourth, Vespasian, would end up ruling for 10 years (A.D. 69-79). The Flavian emperors, as Vespasian and his sons Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96) were known, attempted to tone down the excesses of the Roman court, restore Senate authority and promote public welfare. Around 70-72, Vespasian returned to the Roman people the lush land near the center of the city, where Nero had built an enormous palace for himself after a great fire ripped through Rome in A.D. 64. On the site of that Golden Palace, he decreed, would be built a new amphitheater where the public could enjoy gladiatorial combats and other forms of entertainment.
After nearly a decade of construction–a relatively quick time period for a project of such a grand scale–Titus officially dedicated the Colosseum in A.D. 80 with a festival including 100 days of games. A well-loved ruler, Titus had earned his people’s devotion with his handling of recovery efforts after the infamous eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The final stages of construction of the Colosseum were completed under the reign of Titus’ brother and successor, Domitian.
THE COLOSSEUM: A GRAND AMPHITHEATER
Measuring some 620 by 513 feet (190 by 155 meters), the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world. Unlike many earlier amphitheaters, which had been dug into hillsides to provide adequate support, the Colosseum was a freestanding structure made of stone and concrete. The distinctive exterior had three stories of arched entrances–a total of around 80–supported by semi-circular columns. Each story contained columns of a different order (or style): At the bottom were columns of the relatively simple Doric order, followed by Ionic and topped by the ornate Corinthian order. Located just near the main entrance to the Colosseum was the Arch of Constantine, built in A.D. 315 in honor of Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at Pons Milvius.
Inside, the Colosseum had seating for more than 50,000 spectators, who may have been arranged according to social ranking but were most likely packed into the space like sardines in a can (judging by evidence from the seating at other Roman amphitheaters). Awnings were unfurled from the top story in order to protect the audience from the hot Roman sun as they watched gladiatorial combats, hunts, wild animal fights and larger combats such as mock naval engagements (for which the arena was flooded with water) put on at great expense. The vast majority of the combatants who fought in front of Colosseum audiences in Ancient Rome were men (though there were some female gladiators). Gladiators were generally slaves, condemned criminals or prisoners of war.
THE COLOSSEUM OVER THE CENTURIES
The Colosseum saw some four centuries of active use, until the struggles of the Western Roman Empire and the gradual change in public tastes put an end to gladiatorial combats and other large public entertainments by the 6th century A.D. Even by that time, the arena had suffered damaged due to natural phenomena such as lightning and earthquakes. In the centuries to come, the Colosseum was abandoned completely, and used as a quarry for numerous building projects, including the cathedrals of St. Peter and St. John Lateran, the Palazzo Venezia and defense fortifications along the Tiber River. Beginning in the 18th century, however, various popes sought to conserve the arena as a sacred Christian site, though it is in fact uncertain whether early Christian martyrs met their fate in the Colosseum, as has been speculated.
By the 20th century, a combination of weather, natural disasters, neglect and vandalism had destroyed nearly two-thirds of the original Colosseum, including all of the arena’s marble seats and its decorative elements. Restoration efforts began in the 1990s, and have proceeded over the years, as the Colosseum continues to be a leading attraction for tourists from all over the world.
6. The Greatest Pyramid...
Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destination, and rightfully so. The Yucatan’s grandest archaeological site is Chichen-Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage area of immense cultural significance.
Chichen Itza is perhaps the largest, most famous and most accessible Mayan site, about 125 kilometres west of Cancun and Cozumel. This ancient Mayan ruin, a major tourist stop in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a rugged place of soaring pyramids, massive temples, startling carved columns and do-or-die sports fields.
The focal point of the region, an amalgam of an older Mayan city and newer Toltec settlement, is the towering Castillo pyramid, which is fraught with cosmological symbolism. Its four sides contain 365 steps (depicting the solar year), 52 panels (for each year in the Mayan century as well as each week in the solar year) and 18 terraces (for the 18 months in the religious year). Inside, the Castillo is an interesting temple accessible up a narrow stairway.
Mayan sports included a game with a soccer-sized ball that had its own intricate rules and provided exciting competition for huge crowds of spectators.
The enormous Chichen-Itza court where this game was played is the largest ever found and is lined with fascinating carvings that display the rules and details of the sacred game.
One carving even shows the captain of the losing game being beheaded.
The site also contains a sacred well, the astronomical Observatory, the imposing Temple of Warriors, the reclining Chac Mool figure, a form of classic Maya sculpture believed to have served as an altar for sacrifices, and the Nunnery.
During the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun’s shadow forms an enormous snake’s body, which lines up with the carved stone snake head at the bottom of the Castillo pyramid.
At Chichen Itza, the Sacred Cenote is a natural well 60 metres in diameter with sheer, escape-proof walls plunging 22 metres. Winsome maidens aside, excavations in 1882 and 1968 discovered that strapping six-foot warriors – old scores settled? – and infants were also tossed into the pit.
Across from El Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors is also known as the Temple of the Thousand Columns. On top of it there is a stone on which steaming human hearts were offered to the gods.
Paintings on the outdoor pillars have all but disappeared, but inside an older temple beneath this one, colors are as bright as when they were freshly mixed from vegetable juice and mashed insects.
Several smaller buildings hold interest mostly for their relief sculptures depicting dire events of the time. But one that really makes you sit up and pay attention is a huge ball park.
Each of two 27-foot-high walls running its 480-foot length has a small stone ring near the top, through which a hard rubber ball had to be shot.
When you cross the highway bisecting the archeological zone, you leave behind unpleasant murals and evidence of human sacrifice, for these are buildings from pre-Toltec times. Unfortunately the Spaniards destroyed all religious records.
In consequence, nobody knows for certain that the ornate structure, 70 yards long and 18 yards high, was actually a nunnery.
However, built in 600 A.d. beside a church, it has many little rooms reminiscent of the convents in Spain so they named it the Nunnery.
In Chichen Itza you can also find the Caracol (Spanish for snail), so called for its spiral staircase. The substructure is believed to have been completed around 700 A.D., and the 48-foot circular tower added later. This is the all-important observatory.
7. Wah... Taj
Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous to love and romance. The name "Taj Mahal" was derived from the name of Shah Jahan's wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and means "Crown Palace". The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make a visit to the Taj Mahal gain a place amongst the most sought-after tours in the world. However, until you know the love story behind the construction of the Taj Mahal, the beauty of the same would not enliven in your heart and mind and instead would come up as just another beautiful building/monument. It is the love behind this outstanding monument that has given a life to this monument. Come and explore the visceral charisma that it emanates
At the brink of dawn when the first rays of the sun hits the dome of this epic monument, it radiates like a heavenly abode, cloaked in bright golden. And then at dusk, basking in the glory of moon, it shines like a perfectly carved diamond; appearing as if straight owwut of some magical tale, leaving the viewers awestruck by its sense of grandeur. Nothing short of an architectural marvel, no wonder it stands proud at being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And the rich beauty of this visual spectacle turns visceral when one hears the story behind it. The story of Taj Mahal!
Taj Mahal, "the epitome of love", is "a monument of immeasurable beauty". The beauty of this magnificent monument is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason behind its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. Ironically, the very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance, also leaves visitors mesmerized and perpetually enthralled.
Taj Mahal Facts
Year of Construction: 1631
Completed In: 1653
Time Taken: 22 years
Built By: Shah Jahan
Dedicated to: Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bano Begum), the wife of Shah Jahan
Location: Agra (Uttar Pradesh), India
Building Type: Islamic tomb
Architecture: Mughal (Combination of Persian, Islamic and Indian architecture style)
Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahauri
Cost of Construction: 32 crore rupees
Number of workers: 20,000
Highlights: One of the Seven Wonders of the World; A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset (Friday closed)
Fee: Rs 750 (Foreign Tourists)
Rs 510 (Citizens of SAARC & BIMSTEC Countries)
Rs 20 (Domestic Indian Tourists)
No Entry Fee for children below 15 years of age (Domestic or Foreigner)
Interesting Facts Of Taj Mahal
Before his accession to the throne, Shah Jahan was popularly known as Prince Khurram.
Shah Jahan fell in love with the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum and married her, making her his third wife.
Arjumand Bano Begum was christened by Shah Jahan as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Chosen One Of The Palace” or “Jewel of the Palace”.
Shah Jahan lost Mumtaz Mahal, when she died giving birth to their 14h child.
For the transportation of the construction materials, more than 1,000 elephants were employed.
As many as 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were used to adorn the Taj with exquisite inlay work.
Depending on what time of the day it is and whether or not there’s moon at night, Taj Mahal appears to be of different color every time. Some even believe that this changing pattern of colors depict different moods of a woman.
Passages from Quran have been used as decorative elements throughout the complex.
On the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, 99 names of Allah can be found as calligraphic inscriptions.
Taj Mahal was built in stages, with the plinth and the tomb taking up roughly 15 years. Building of minarets, mosque, jawab, and gateway took additional 5 years to be completed.
Different types of marbles used in construction of Taj Mahal were brought over from many different regions & countries: Rajasthan, Punjab, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Srilanka, & Arabia.
Many precious stones and Lapis Lazuli (a semi-precious stone) were ripped off from its walls by the Britishers during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
Taj Mahal attracts 2-4 million visitors annually with over 200,000 from overse
You Must Know...
Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658), grandson of Akbar the great, in the memory of his queen Arjumand Bano Begum, entitled ‘Mumtaz Mahal’. Mumtaz Mahal was a niece of empress Nur Jahan and granddaughter of Mirza Ghias Beg I’timad-ud-Daula, wazir of emperor Jehangir. She was born in 1593 and died in 1631, during the birth of her fourteenth child at Burhanpur. Her mortal remains were temporarily buried in the Zainabad garden. Six months later, her body was transferred to Agra to be finally enshrined in the crypt of the main tomb of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan.
The mausoleum is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna at a point where it takes a sharp turn and flows eastwards. Originally, the land where the Taj Mahal presently stands belonged to the Kachhwahas of Ajmer (Rajasthan). The land was acquired from them in lieu of four havelis as is testified by a court historian, Abdul Hamid Lahauri, in his work titled the Badshah-Namah and the firmans (royal decrees). For construction, a network of wells was laid along the river line to support the huge mausoleum buildings. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran. While bricks for internal constructions were locally prepared, white marble for external use in veneering work was obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan. Semi-precious stones for inlay ornamentation were brought from distant regions of India, Ceylon and Afghanistan. Red sandstone of different tints was requisitioned from the neighbouring quarries of Sikri, Dholpur, etc. It took 17 years for the monument complex to be completed in 1648.
In all, the Taj Mahal covers an area of 60 bighas, as the terrain gradually sloped from south to north, towards the river, in the form of descending terraces. At the southern point is the forecourt with the main gate in front and tombs of Akbarabadi Begum and Fatehpuri Begum, two other queens of Shah Jahan, on its south-east and south-west corners respectively called Saheli Burj 1 and 2.
On the second terrace is a spacious square garden, with side pavilions. It is divided into four quarters by broad shallow canals of water, with wide walkways and cypress avenues on the sides. The water channels and fountains are fed by overhead water tanks. These four quarters are further divided into the smaller quarters by broad causeways, so that the whole scheme is in a perfect char-bagh.
The main tomb of the Taj is basically square with chamfered corners. The minarets here are detached, facing the chamfered angles (corners) of the main tomb on the main plinth. Red sandstone mosque on the western, and Mehman-Khana on the eastern side of the tomb provides aesthetically a clear colour contrast.
The Taj has some wonderful specimens of polychrome inlay art both in the interior and exterior on the dados, on cenotaphs and on the marble jhajjhari (jali-screen) around them.
Taj Mahal Architecture
Involvement of 22,000 workers including masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans called on from all over the central Asia and Iran, and some 22 years later when a monument with a unique blend of Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles came into its own, it was a sight to behold! The grandeur of the structure then created was such that even decades after its creation, it is still regarded as one of the most arresting and attention-grabbing manmade monuments of the world. Not just Taj, even structures alongside it add to the architectural beauty and artistic wonder of the place. The entire Taj complex consists of five major constituents, namely Darwaza (main gateway), Bageecha (gardens), Masjid (mosque), Naqqar Khana (rest house) and Rauza (main mausoleum).
The Taj Mahal covers an area of 42 acres in total with the terrain gradually sloping from south to north, towards the river Yamuna in the form of descending terraces. The main gateway situated at the end of the long watercourse, decorated in calligraphy with verses from Holy Quran and a domed central chamber, was constructed from the period 1932 to 1938. The original door of this massive sandstone gateway was made out of solid silver. It was constructed to serve the function of preventing the people from getting any glimpse of the tomb until they are right in the doorway itself. With a vertical symmetry, the main gateway of Taj Mahal stands bordered with Arabic calligraphy of verses from the Quran, made up of black stone.
The main tomb of Taj Mahal stands on a square platform that was raised 50 meter above the riverbank and was leveled with dirt to reduce seepage from the river. The four minarets on each corner of this square are detached, facing the chamfered angles of the main and are deliberately kept at 137 feet to emphasize the beautiful and spherical dome that itself is 58 feet in diameter and 81 feet high. The western side of the main tomb has the mosque and on the eastern side is the Naqqar Khana (rest/guest house), both made in red sandstone. The two structures not only provide an architectural symmetry, but also make for an aesthetic color contrast. One can only marvel at the mosque and the rest house as despite being on the opposite ends, the two are mirror image of each other.
Out of the total area of 580 meter by 300 meter, the garden alone covers 300 meter by 300 meter. The immaculate symmetry with which this garden has been laid out can be experienced everywhere. The Islamic style architecture of this garden also has a well defined meaning that symbolizes spirituality and according to the Holy Quran, the lush green, well watered is a symbol of Paradise in Islam. The raised pathways divide each of the four quarters into 16 flowerbeds with around 400 plants in each bed. Even today, the garden boasts of being a tranquil and soothing region in the entire complex and is considered best place for taking snaps of the main tomb.
A shadowy burial crypt inside the Taj Mahal houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan himself, who was buried there after he died. Above these tombs is the main chamber that has the false tombs and perforated marble screens have been used to transmit light into the burial chamber, typical of mausoleums of the Mughals. Semi-precious stones are exquisitely inlaid in both the tombs. Calligraphic inscriptions of the ninety nine names of Allah can also be found on the sides of actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj has some wonderful specimens of polychrome inlay art both in the interior and exterior on the dados, on cenotaphs and on the marble jhajjhari (jali-screen) around them. Shah Jahan's tomb, which lies next to that of Mumtaz Mahal, was never planned and deranges the otherwise perfect symmetry of the Taj.
As majestically dazzling as it looks from the main gateway, with the glorious view of the mosque and the guest house on the sides and the main mausoleum in the centre with four minarets standing proud at each corner, the insides of TAj Mahal are no less stunningly beautified either. Rather, the painstakingly designed and richly carved interiors brilliantly compliment the grandeur of the entire structure with subtleness. With basic elements in Persian, the large white marble structure that stands on the square plinth consists of a symmetrical building with an arch shaped doorway known as Iwan, which is adorned with exquisite calligraphy and is topped by a large dome and a finial. The angles of the tomb consist of semi-octagonal arched alcoves of equal size. Attached pilasters rising from the base of the tomb demark each of the porticos, on both the sides. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; as the actual graves are located at a much lower level.
Moving ahead, all the elements, architecture, furniture, and decorations culminate together to create an eschatological house for Mumtaz Mahal, and that of Shah Jahan. Formed with black marble inlaid in white, the floor of the Taj is paved in a geometrical pattern consisting of octagonal stars alternating with cruciform shapes. One of the longest echoes of any building in the world can be heard in this perfectly designed hall of 24 feet to a side, with two tiers of eight radiating niches. The natural and beautiful flowers like tulips, irises, daffodils, and narcissus filled in opulent vases appear here in basic tripartite arrangement rather than individual flowering plants of the pishtaq halls outside. Another remarkable feature that surrounds the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan in the central chamber is the intricately carved marble screen or jali and is a delight to look at. The semi precious stones forming twining vines, fruits, and flowers inlaid delicately form the rest of the surfaces.
The burial chamber is located right beneath the central chamber and consists of the actual graves of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan covered by two cenotaphs. And since the Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves, these cenotaphs have different motifs in their decoration. The real cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal has an almost undecorated platform and is engraved with passages from the Holy Quran, promising God's mercy and forgiveness. Also, the ninety nine beautiful names of Allah can be found as calligraphic inscriptions on the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan that was added much later is bigger than the cenotaph of his wife and is more simplistically decorated than his cenotaph above. Although the same designs appear on the sides of the sarcophagus elements, they are smaller in size. Coming out of such elaborately designed structure as Taj is like coming out of an era that had gone by, an era that added to the world in more than one way, an era that has been kept alive by the wonder that is Taj Maha
Taj Mahal Story
Male Protagonist: Shah Jahan (Prince Khurram)
Female Protagonist: Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum)
Taj Mahal, the magnificent monument that stands at the heart of India has a story that has been melting the hearts of millions of listeners since the time Taj has been visible. A story, that although ended back in 1631, continues to live on in the form of Taj and is considered a living example of eternal love. It's the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, two people from the course of history who set an example for the people living in present and the future to come. An English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold best describes it as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passion of an emperor's love wrought in living stones." The story that follows next will prove why the statement is true.
Shah Jahan, initially named Prince Khurram, was born in the year 1592. He was the son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India and the grandson of Akbar the Great. In 1607 when strolling down the Meena Bazaar, accompanied by a string of fawning courtiers, Shah Jahan caught a glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. It was love at first sight and the girl was Mumtaz Mahal, who was known as Arjumand Banu Begum at that time. At that time, he was 14 years old and she, a Muslim Persian princess, was 15. After meeting her, Shah Jahan went back to his father and declared that he wanted to marry her. The match got solemnized after five years i.e., in the year 1612.
It was in the year 1628 that Shah Jahan became the Emperor and entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He also bestowed her with the title of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the "Jewel of the Palace". Though Shah Jahan had other wives also, but, Mumtaz Mahal was his favorite and accompanied him everywhere, even on military campaigns. In the year 1631, when Mumtaz Mahal was giving birth to their 14th child, she died due to some complications. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and will build the richest mausoleum over her grave.
It is said that Shah Jahan was so heartbroken after her death that he ordered the court into mourning for two years. Sometime after her death, Shah Jahan undertook the task of erecting the world's most beautiful monument in the memory of his beloved. It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed in a tomb next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. This magnificent monument came to be known as "Taj Mahal" and now counts amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. This is the true story of the Taj Mahal of India, which has mesmerized many people with its bewitching beauty.
Taj Mahotsav Agra
Location: Shilpgram, Near Taj Mahal, Agra
Time: February, Every year
Duration: 10 days, 18th February to 27th February
Organized by: Department of Tourism, Government of India
Significance: Celebrated to promote rich arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music of the state and country
Highlights: A procession taken out in the typical Mughal era style, food festival, performances by folk musicians and dancers, etc
Taj Mahotsav is being celebrated successfully since 1992 in Agra in the month of February for ten days, from 18th February to 27th February. Organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of India, Taj Mahotsav is mainly dedicated to the promotion of country's rich art and craft, culture, cuisine, dance and music. In fact, it serves as an acknowledgment to the craftsmen as well as the exponents of art, music and cuisine from all over the country. A large number of Indian and foreign tourists coming to Agra join this festivity of multi facets. The venue of the festival of Taj Mahotsav is Shilpgram, which is a stone's throw away distance from Taj Mahal. The festival starts with a procession, including bejeweled elephants and camels, drum beaters, folk artists and master craftsmen. A major highlight of this festival is the availability of fabulous works of art and craft at the most authenticated prices that are not sky rocketed by high maintenance cost.
This procession is an effort to reconstruct the ones that were taken out during the time of the Mughals. The crafts that are displayed in the festival have immense variety as over 400 legendary artisans from different parts of the country get an opportunity to showcase their talent. The crafts include woodcarvings of Saharanpur, brass and other metal ware of Moradabad, handmade carpets of Badohi, blue pottery of Khurja, Chikan work of Lucknow, silk of Varanasi, pottery from Khurja, shawls and carpets from Kashmir/Gujarat, hand printing from Farrukhabad, wood/stone carvings from Tamil Nadu, bamboo/cane work from North East India, kantha stitch from West Bengal, and paper & mash work from South India. Additionally, visitors also get to witness some of the spectacular performances by artists from every nook and corner of the country. The folk dances are sure to engulf you in their charisma and keep you enthralled for a long time.
One of the major attractions of the Taj Mahal Mahotsav of Agra is the Food Festival, where you can get some of the oldest and the most typical delicacies from the interiors of Uttar Pradesh and rest of India like chole bhature, Indian samosa, poori sabji, gulab jamun, Lucknavi kebab, South Indian dosa, Amritsari naan, Hyderabadi biryani etc. Throughout the Mahotsav, the visitors can experience the richness of folk, classical music, and dances from various regions of the country in the way they were performed centuries ago. Moreover, it's got something for everyone in the family as when the adults are busy with the arts, crafts, and cultural shows, the children too can indulge themselves in delightful food and fun fair that forwards various rides including the splendid roller coaster or the smaller ones like merry-go-round or train rides. Coming February, come and be a part of the festivity and you're sure to go home with feelings that'll have nostalgia running in every vein of your body in the time to come. And if this doesn't do it, the spectacular visit to the Taj Mahal will definitely do the needful.
OPENING HOURS - Sunrise to Sunset
Friday Closed (openonly for offering traditionalprayer in the mosque between 12 Noon to 2 P.M).
Night viewing on Full Moon date and two days before and after it, excluding Fridays and in the month of Ramzan. For more details click here (link of night viewing of TajMahal)
Free entry: Children below 15 years
Indian Visitors: Total Rs.20/- (Rs.10/- by ASI as Entry fee and Rs.10/- by ADA as Toll tax).
Citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries: Total Rs.510/- (Rs.10/- by ASI as Entry fee and Rs.500.00 by ADA as Toll tax).
Other Foreign Visitor Total Rs.750/- (Rs.250/- by ASI as Entry fee and Rs.500/- by ADA as Toll tax).
(Note: Foreign Visitors who purchase Agra Development Authority (ADA)'s Pathkar (Toll tax) ticket of Rs.500/- forTajMahal, need not to purchase any other Pathkar (Toll tax) ticket, if he/she visits the monuments viz. TajMahal, Agra Fort, FatehpurSikri, Akbar's Tomb, Itimad-ud-Daulah's tomb on the same day) .
AUDIO GUIDE FACILITY:
Audio Guides Facility in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bangla is available at TajMahal. Please contact near Ticket Booking counters and Forecourt.
There is a Site Museum at Western NaubatKhana. It is opened from 9.00 AM to 5.00 P.M.
Friday Closed Entrance fee: Free entry for all visitors