Taj Mahal, India • 360° Aerial Panoramas
Total Views: 22 414 717
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
"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
"I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this site is actually pleasant."
Branden Mcmanus, Sweden
"Magnificent website. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your effort!"
Ann Oquendo, Netherlands Antilles
Fausto Kimmel, Norfolk Island
"I do consider all the ideas you've offered in your post. They're very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post."
Chi Luce, Guadeloupe
"Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!"
Vickey Strange, Malawi
"We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You've done a formidable process and our entire neighborhood will be thankful to you."
Lilly Speer, Costa Rica
"Hey There. I found your weblog using msn. This is a very neatly written article. I'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I'll definitely comeback."
Kirby Sample, Faroe Islands
"Hello to all, for the reason that I am actually eager of reading this website's post to be updated regularly. It contains good material."
Dewey Batista, Azerbaijan
"Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a good articleâ€¦ but what can I sayâ€¦ I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done."
Amber Bowling, Pitcairn
"Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other person's blog link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar in support of you."
Mohammed Noyes, Antarctica
"Why users still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe all is available on web?"
Velva Prewitt, Sweden
"What's up Dear, are you truly visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so then you will without doubt take nice knowledge."
Mindy Thrasher, Mongolia
"Hi there, all is going fine here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's in fact fine, keep up writing."
Ines Pak, Israel
"Admiring the time and effort you put into your website and detailed information you offer. It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same out of date rehashed information. Fantastic read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account."
Adolph Negron, Antarctica
"Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your post is simply nice and that i could suppose you are an expert in this subject. Well together with your permission let me to clutch your RSS feed to stay up to date with imminent post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the rewarding work."
Guy Dugas, Kuwait
"hello there and thank you for your information â€“ I've certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this site, since I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I'm adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this again soon."
Kenneth Ogle, Estonia
"Great blog right here! Also your website rather a lot up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate link in your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol"
Emanuel Shay, Pitcairn
"Very shortly this site will be famous among all blogging and site-building viewers, due to it's nice posts"
Bev Dehart, Ireland
"Description signe astrologique horoscope gratuit de yahoo"
Lynette Homan, Norfolk Island
"You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually something which I think I'd by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely large for me. I am looking ahead to your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!"
Jermaine Sowell, Liberia
"These are truly fantastic ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some good points here. Any way keep up wrinting."
Josephine Mcgregor, India
"Hi, dein Artikel auf deinem Blog ist wirklich nett. Normalerweise lese ich nicht bis zum Ende, aber das war wirklich mal ein interessanter Artikel. Mal was anderes! Bin jedoch nur durch Zufall Ã¼ber die Aol Suche auf deine Website aufmerksam geworden. Zur Sache: existiert hierzu in der Zwischenzeit etwas Neues? Habe auf in den Archiven gesucht, aber leider nichts gefunden. Danke im Voraus und so weitermachen!"
Leonard Kenyon, Jordan
"Module 5 Find Content: Once you discover search phrases, Market Samurai preserves time, effort and frustration in the event it pertains to creating content material for your web-site. Here are some suggestions that can help entrepreneurs in saving so much time:. You also needs to download the Google Toolbar so you'll be able to see the search engine rank of the page which you visit."
Mahalia Cortez, Nigeria
"Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing!"
Leoma Salter, Macedonia
"I do consider all the ideas you have offered to your post. They're really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for newbies. May just you please prolong them a little from next time? Thank you for the post."
Marlys Kearns, Switzerland
"Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Many thanks!"
Edward Kiefer, Nepal
"Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!"
Julius Abel, Slovakia
"If you are going for most excellent contents like myself, simply visit this site every day because it provides quality contents, thanks"
Dirk Golding, Papua New Guinea
"FABULUS,AMAZING&THOUGHT PRPVOKING BLOG!"
jagdish kaushik, India
"That is really fascinating, You're a very professional blogger. I've joined your rss feed and look forward to in search of extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks"
Annette Irving, China
"Great article. I'm experiencing some of these issues as well.."
Ernie Friend, New Zealand
"Hello to every one, the contents existing at this site are genuinely remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows."
Darnell Weathers, Kenya
"Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very great article."
Justina Treadwell, Kiribati
"This web site really has all of the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask."
Lamar Kaye, Macau
"Hello, I enjoy reading through your post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you."
Neal Barry, Nicaragu
"Great blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Cheers!"
Brock Ritchey, Austria
AirPano: Hi Brock,
There are no rules how to start a new website. But first of all you have to have some materials to show to other people. If you have them it does not matter if you are going to start with wordpress or order a website. There are many templates based on wordpress today so may be it is easy to start with it. But of course you should like your website! If you found a nice template, you would be able to go on with a free platform.
Best regards, Sergey Rumyantsev
"There are a various kinds of designer perfumes and colognes at online stores, which found in both tester and regular packaging."
Veronica Marks, Guinea
"I couldn't resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!"
Kara Bradbury, Saudi Arabia
"In the other part of this article, titled 'Search Engine Rank: Google Page Rank Misconceptions' w - I will explode some myths about Page Rank, and explain what number of people are wasting their time with reciprocal links, and perhaps even losing through them. SEO (Seo) is frequently thought of as being a confusing and difficult method of increase how high an internet site ranks searching engines. Cleanly Coded - Make certain your sites coding is neat and does not provide a lots of errors, since this change lives how a crawler reads and interprets your web site."
Candace Sipes, Portugal
"Hey there, You've done an incredible job. I'll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site."
Morris Irons, Nepal
"Heya! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!"
Williams Pardo, Chile
"Very quickly this web page will be famous amid all blog users, due to it's fastidious posts"
Pat Lanham, Costa Rica
"It very beautiful,...."
johnny chang, Taiwan Region
"Fantastic blog. keep it up!"
Marlene Valenti, Falkland Islands
"It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it!"
Lamar Thibodeau, Brazil
"Well written job. keep going!"
Wyatt Prosser, Anguilla
"Useful info. Fortunate me I found your site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it."
Tiara Weis, Lesotho
"This website certainly has all the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn't know who to ask."
Elise Hildreth, French Polynesia