Taj Mahal, India • 360° Aerial Panorama
Total Views: 3 923 471
In The New Seven Wonders Of The World list Taj Mahal, a mosque-mausoleum located in Indian city of Agra, takes a very important place.
In spite of its Muslim origin this white marble necropolis became an actual symbol of India. Serious security measures are taken to protect it. There is a special 500-meter security zone established around the complex. Cars are to be parked 2 kilometers away, and the rest of the way tourists have to travel by rickshas, carriages, or electromobiles, because it's believed that car exhaust fumes cause yellowing of the marble facing. There is even a barbed wire fence on the opposite shore of Jamuna River, which runs beside Taj Mahal. Security personnel totals hundreds of men.
In January 2012 Dima Moiseenko, our photographer, went to Agra to meet the Superintending Archaeologist in charge of Taj Mahal and asked him how to get a permit to photograph Taj Mahal from air. Security is so tight in Taj Mahal that one cannot even enter with a tripod. But that wasn't the only issue: Dima was asked to hand over his lighter and cigarettes.
The Archaeologist listened to the request of his guest from remote Russia and replied, "I'll allow you to shoot with a tripod, but you can forget about aerial photographs". Last time someone took pictures of Taj Mahal from air was 10 or 15 years ago. And as long as I've been here, no one else has been able to do that. A few years ago some foreigners tried to launch a radio-controlled helicopter from a boat on the river, but the police immediately arrested them. I strongly advice you against this trick."
We were curious who managed to take an aerial photograph of Taj Mahal. After searching the Internet we found out that it was Yan Artus Bertran, a famous Frenchman, who took pictures of Taj Mahal from a helicopter in 1997.
15 years have passed and no one else was able to get a permission to shoot the monument from air. Mr. Bertran had a full support of UNESCO and French government, so one can imagine the resources he had available for this project. Unfortunately, the only resource AirPano had was a group panoramic photography enthusiasts from Moscow.
And so we decided to visit the Embassy of India in Moscow. Dima went to the Embassy and made a presentation about AirPano project. He told them about our non-for-profit work focused on showing people the most interesting places of our planet from a bird's eye view.
They expressed an interest in our work and asked us to prepare all the necessary documents about the planned photo shoot. The paperwork took almost 2 months, we went back and forth, correcting documents and providing comments when necessary. Finally, when we were shooting in Cambodia, good news came from the Embassy: we were given the permission to shoot in March.
I will let Stas tell you the rest of the story.
Although we had a trip to Jordan planed in March, we canceled it and went to India. Dima Moiseyenko and I arrived to Agra, India, the home of Taj Mahal, in March 2012.
First of all we went to visit the Superintendant Archaeologist, with whom Dima met in January. Only this time we had the papers. At first, very unwillingly, the Superintendant Archaeologist allowed us to fly over Agra, except for Taj Mahal. But then, referring to a phone call from Dehli, he denied us entirely. He said that we had to go to the capital and gain a permit from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (yes, for a 100-meter height launch of a small manually controlled helicopter). As if to make us feel better, he allowed us to shoot inside Taj Mahal with a tripod.
To say that we were frustrated after that conversation is to say nothing. Our entire trip was falling apart right in front of our eyes, because Taj Mahal was our main goal.
We spent the following day knocking on every door we knew, from police to other local authorities, trying to get the permit. But all our efforts were in vain. After listening to our story, every single bureaucrat sent us back to the Superintendant Archaeologist.
As a last resort, Dima called the Embassy of India in Moscow and told them that despite of all the papers from Delhi, we were being denied to photograph Taj Mahal. They said they would look into it, but it could take a lot of time. And we had only 3 days left.
The same night we held "a council of war" in our hotel room. We declared that, using the papers from the Embassy as a backup, we would launch the helicopter from under the wall by the riverside.
The take-off should be done in the open, in the sight of the security guards, so that we wouldn't be shot as terrorists. It was clear that we had only one chance to shoot, and that they wouldn't allow us to do it again.
In the morning we packed our equipment and went to our photo shoot, preparing ourselves to spend some time in a local jail. However, we received a phone call on our way to Taj Mahal. It was an employee of the Embassy in Moscow. He said that we had to go to the Superintendant Archaeologist's office and get our photo permit. He managed to resolve all the issues for us. Still in doubt, we entered the office. The Superintendant Archaeologist didn't grace us with his presence; a small clerk handed us the paper.
And that was it! The permit to fly over Agra Fatehpur Sikri Fort and, more importantly, a permission to photograph Taj Mahal from air for 2 days straight!
To be honest, I didn't believe my own eyes at first, but the sight of Dima dancing in the street dust finally convinced me.
We photographed Taj Mahal twice in the morning and one time in the evening. That was one of the most challenging and thorough work we'd done so far. We had to carry our helicopter on the premises 3 times. And each time it was a nightmare. Every local security guard had to stop us and ask — with huge surprise in his eyes — how exactly did we manage to sneak in our gear. Routinely we would show him our papers, which he would study for 10 or 15 minutes, only to say that we couldn't shoot here.
But yes, we did it! We were the first ones in 15 years to fly over Taj Mahal and photograph it. We were the first to make a virtual aerial tour around Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. And now you can admire the beauty of the symbol of India in a way only birds could do before.
After this we shot in many other places in India, such as Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Varanasi, Jaipur, and Delhi. Fortunately, we didn't have any difficulties there. On our last day in India we also received a permission to photograph at the territory of unique Akshardhama (New Delhi).We will publish these materials on AirPano.com as they go through post processing.
Taj Mahal was built by order of Shah Jahan, a Great Mughal emperor and the descendant of Tamerlan, in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. In our cynical times it's hard to believe in feelings strong enough to withstand 17 years of marriage and 13 children. But it's a fact — all legends and stories of that time tell us one thing: when they first met, Shah Jahan was enchanted by his chosen one, so from that moment on he didn't pay attention to his other wives. When Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth of their fourteenth baby in 1631, Shah aborted his war campaign, returned home and dedicated the rest of his life to building the mausoleum.
Twenty thousand workers had been building the monument for more than twenty years. Beside local experts, foreign architects — Venetian and Frenchman — were invited to participate in the development. Combined efforts gave birth to five-dome building, which was 74 meters high on the platform with 4 minarets in the corners. The walls are faced with polished semitransparent marble, brought to the site from a 300 kilometers distance. It looks white in the bright daylight, pink during sunset, and silver in the moonlight. Furthermore, walls are decorated with turquoise, agate, malachite, carnelian and other gemstones delivered from many countries including Russia.
The grand building of Taj Mahal is surrounded by park. Water canals divide the park into square sections. The wide canal with fountains runs from the main gate. When the fountains are silent one can see a magic reflection of Taj Mahal in the water...
While the construction was in progress, Shah Jahan had an idea to create the same monument for himself on the opposite shore of Jamuna River that runs right behind the mausoleum. It would be made of black marble and connected with his wife's mausoleum by an openwork bridge. Unfortunately, this beautiful dream did not come true. In order to maintain a clear view of the most spectacular mausoleum in the world, it was prohibited to erect more than 4-storey buildings in 3 kilometers radius.
However, many years of grief and obsession with building the mausoleum prevented Shah Jahan from attending to his country's needs. As a result, he was overthrown by his own son (son of the woman to whom he dedicated the mausoleum) and spent the rest of his days in jail. The legend says that, as some cruel joke, his jail windows were facing Taj Mahal, the monument to his loved one whose untimely death led to his demise.
Taj Mahal is not just one of the most famous India landmarks. It is a rare monument, which needs to be seen and also to be felt. This is a story of love artistically preserved in stone, and it affects everyone who sees it.
You can also watch the short video from the above of Taj Mahal.
4 June 2012
"A great deal of good things on this page! I will certainly remember to share it with a number of my friends who're fascinated with this sort of stuff."
Clarence Voigt, Kuwait
Continue for the sake of people those cannot travel
All the best"
Thajudeen Kunjuveeran, India
"I've been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before."
Therese Bowens, Mayotte
"Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my website =). We may have a link change arrangement between us"
Carroll Beaver, French Polynesia
"Asking questions are really nice thing if you are not understanding something totally, except this article gives fastidious understanding yet."
Dawna Tobin, Kenya
"I'm impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that's both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this."
Rosetta Grace, Ireland
"With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of exclusive content I've either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being ripped off? I'd definitely appreciate it."
William Kidwell, Hong Kong
"ever since i heard aboutyour site on the news ive been a regular visitor thank you for your input . if and when i ever get the funds to visit these places i will but until then your sites are amazing thank you so much i love you and your work yove done thank you"
elizabeth frilando, USA
"Wow, this piece of writing is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to tell her."
Jeffry Roper, Togo
"Greetings! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!"
Janie Guajardo, Netherlands Antilles
"Hey there! I could have sworn I've been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it's new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely happy I found it and I'll be book-marking and checking back often!"
Debbra Shull, Greenland
"Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance, and I am shocked why this coincidence did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it."
Linnie Bohannon, Sweden
"Hi there, for all time i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, since i enjoy to learn more and more."
Lino Pritchard, Singapore
"Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thank you so much!"
Christian Stokes, Turks and Caicos Islands
"This is the right webpage for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need toвЂ¦HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just wonderful!"
Kyle Ricker, Israel
"Currently it looks like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform out there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?"
Ashleigh Best, Rwanda
"This site really has all of the information and facts I wanted concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask."
Belle Burton, Thailand
"Radiesse is made of calcium-based micro-spheres are encased in gel. If skin is sagging along with fillers or botox dont support, you might think about a facelift. Currently that will not normally be a crisis for lots but the fact is that the redness is a mark that blood is experiencing a difficult time flowing through and can also cause skin rashes and additional troubles about pain."
Nickolas Winchester, Indonesia
"Excellent site you've got here.. It's hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!"
Jon Messina, Saint Lucia
"I visited various sites but the audio quality for audio songs existing at this web site is really marvelous."
Roland Skinner, Cayman Islands
"wow, it is really wonderful, thanks"
narendran valore valore, India
"Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast."
Lorene Murry, New Zealand
"Greetings! I've been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!"
Sadye Quinn, New Zealand
"I do not know whether it's just me or if everyone else encountering issues with your website. It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my internet browser because I've had this happen before. Thank you"
Terri Mckeon, Bangladesh
"I used to be suggested this website through my cousin. I'm not certain whether this post is written by means of him as no one else know such unique approximately my problem. You're wonderful! Thanks!"
Staci Creel, Belarus
"I don't even know the way I ended up right here, however I believed this post was good. I don't recognize who you are but definitely you're going to a well-known blogger should you are not already. Cheers!"
Jefferey Washington, Djibouti
"Excellent way of explaining, and good post to obtain data about my presentation subject, which i am going to deliver in college."
Verna Dasilva, Thailand
"What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity on the topic of unpredicted feelings."
Daisy Odum, Mayotte
"Thanks in favor of sharing such a nice opinion, piece of writing is nice, thats why i have read it completely"
Alexis Aguayo, Panama
"Appreciation to my father who told me about this blog, this web site is in fact amazing."
Carmen Galbraith, Germany
"If you wish for to grow your know-how just keep visiting this website and be updated with the hottest news posted here."
Mariel Broussard, Indonesia
"I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers"
Nickolas Childers, Czech Republic
"Having read this I thought it was extremely informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!"
Bernardo Mercado, Guatemala
"Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me."
Micah Viera, Ethiopia
"Woah! I'm really enjoying the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's tough to get that "perfect balance" between usability and visual appeal. I must say you've done a superb job with this. In addition, the blog loads very quick for me on Opera. Superb Blog!"
Ludie Tinsley, Kenya
"My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!"
Brandi Montalvo, Ghana
"Good replies in return of this difficulty with solid arguments and telling everything concerning that."
Danial Theriot, Cape Verde
"Thanks for sharing your thoughts on aerial photos. Regards"
Trudy Beckham, Belize
"I like what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and exposure! Keep up the great works guys I've included you guys to our blogroll."
Sven Thiel, Tuvalu
"This is my first time visit at here and i am genuinely impressed to read everthing at single place."
Sherlyn Ransom, Serbia and Montenegro
"Hello! I understand this is sort of off-topic but I needed to ask. Does operating a well-established website like yours take a massive amount work? I'm brand new to running a blog but I do write in my journal every day. I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!"
Liam Beasley, Northern Mariana Islands
"You're so awesome! I do not believe I've truly read something like that before. So wonderful to discover somebody with original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!"
Vada Lindquist, Switzerland
"Quality posts is the important to be a focus for the viewers to pay a quick visit the web page, that's what this web page is providing."
Scott Duvall, Lao Peoples Republic
"It's going to be finish of mine day, except before ending I am reading this wonderful article to improve my knowledge."
Leila Gabriel, Marshall Islands
"Paragraph writing is also a fun, if you know then you can write otherwise it is complex to write."
Ellie Weinstein, Malta
"you done a grate job, wish to see in side of taj .... which now closed to public"
awadhesh pandey, India
"I always used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of net thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web."
Franchesca Gagne, Central African Republic
"Amazing! Its really remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea concerning from this post."
Halley Mccants, Malaysia
"I am sure this post has touched all the internet users, its really really pleasant piece of writing on building up new weblog."
Angeles Madigan, Mongolia
"That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoвЂ¦ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!"
Leonie Raines, Serbia and Montenegro