Taj Mahal, India • 360° Aerial Panoramas
Total Views: 4 369 922
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
"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 infoâ€¦ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!"
Leonie Raines, Serbia and Montenegro
"I'm amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that's both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something regarding this."
Fred Payne, Egypt
"This piece of writing presents clear idea designed for the new people of blogging, that really how to do running a blog."
Mickey Swanson, Guam
"Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this amazing site needs far more attention. I'll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!"
Randy Monahan, Philippines
"This page truly has all of the info I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask."
Tracey Scott, Norfolk Island
"Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!"
Erik Cowell, Cyprus
"This piece of writing is genuinely a fastidious one it assists new net people, who are wishing for blogging."
Faustino Spradlin, Indonesia
"I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too."
Zulma Ritter, Italy
"Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, let alone the content!"
Terrance Mendes, Iceland
"peerless website.most interesting n enjoying
sant lal verma, India
"Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe the whole thing is available on web?"
Simone Puckett, Tokelau
"Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site."
Woodrow Perkins, Haiti
"you are in reality a good webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible. It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic job on this topic!"
Blake Lovett, Bolivia
"This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoâ€¦ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!"
Freeman Galarza, Sweden
Margery Hooper, Dominican Republic
"You really make it appear really easy along with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really something that I believe I'd never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely large for me. I am having a look forward on your next submit, I will try to get the dangle of it!"
Lucile Troy, Estonia
"its beautyful tomb in loving meomary for mumtaj.....but in amritsar there is a temple in meomary of god were 24 hour people remember god with singing song thats called GOLDEN TEMPLE. Dithe sabe thav nahin tuj jrhia...its mean that i have seen world places but not like this....."
swinder singh padam padam, India
"Ich weiÃŸ, falls alle web EigentÃ¼mer und Blogger so einen super Inhalt wie du in das internet stellen wÃ¼rden, gaebe es so viel mehr nuetzliches zu finden."
Janelle Chisolm, Azerbaijan
"Keep this going please, great job!"
Kaitlyn Hargett, Nauru
"It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!"
Jayden Hannah, Puerto Rico
"WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for seven wonders"
Christin Grove, Bulgaria
"Fantastic post. People should read this."
Susie Mcdermott, Nicaragu
"Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds or even I achievement you get admission to persistently fast."
Brianne Her, Syrian Arab Republic
"This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am truly pleassant to read all at single place."
Felipe Linder, Senegal
"I think that is one of the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. However should statement on some normal things, The website taste is great, the articles is in point of fact nice : D. Good process, cheers"
Dick Handy, Saint Lucia
"taj mahal is the second wonder of the world.............."
akash ranjan, India
"Hello, after reading this amazing paragraph i am as well happy to share my know-how here with colleagues."
Samira Mireles, Tokelau
"Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out."
Kyle Covington, Portugal
"Thanks to my father who shared with me on the topic of this web site, this blog is really awesome."
Sherrill Caron, Venezuela
"If you are going for finest contents like myself, just visit this site every day because it offers quality contents, thanks"
Paulina Hudson, Barbados
"Excellent post. keep it up!"
Sheree Robison, Solomon Islands
""That's is Awesome sensational"
Really Very Good Work "KEEP IT UP""
Naveen Saini, India
"Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!"
Jayden Barr, New Caledonia
"This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!"
Hugo Curry, Panama
Chinh Nguyen, USA
"I got this web site from my pal who shared with me about this web page and at the moment this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative articles at this place."
Brooke Kilgore, Greece
"Hi there, every time i used to check webpage posts here early in the break of day, since i love to find out more and more."
Jacquelyn Clemens, Spain
"I'm amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that's equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my search for something relating to this."
Harlan Link, Paraguay
"There's certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you have made."
Mia Mckinnon, Poland
"I used to be recommended this web site by way of my cousin. I'm not certain whether this submit is written by means of him as nobody else recognise such particular approximately my problem. You are wonderful! Thank you!"
Markus Thornhill, Uzbekistan
"I am in fact pleased to read this weblog posts which includes tons of helpful facts, thanks for providing such information."
Lyndon Tolley, Zambia
"you are actually a excellent webmaster. The site loading speed is amazing. It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a magnificent process in this topic!"
Andrea Cortez, Georgia
"Great post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!"
Alysa Adair, Mayotte
"Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!"
Eleanor Hendon, Peru
"Hello it's me, I am also visiting this site regularly, this web site is actually fastidious and the visitors are genuinely sharing fastidious thoughts."
Jaunita Turpin, Pakistan
"Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!"
Marcella Cosby, Angola
"I was able to find good info from your articles."
Brigida Stubbs, Maldives
"Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you"
Lawerence Boss, Congo
AirPano: Dear Lawerence,
Of course you can share our site in your group! Thanks a lot.
Best regards, Sergey Rumyantsev