Taj Mahal, India • 360° Aerial Panorama
This panorama can be opened in several different resolutions. High resolution panorama with the best quality is about 7 Mb large and it is suitable for fast internet connections and modern computers. For slower internet and old weak computers we created the smaller low resolution panorama. Some small details have been sacrificed but the size of low resolution panorama is nomore than 2 Mb.
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.
"Thanks in favor of sharing such a good thinking, article is good, thats why i have read it entirely"
Luann Sturgeon, Saudi Arabia
"Thank you for the good writeup. It actually used to be a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?"
Lori Brinkley, Belgium
Alina, AirPano: Lori, you can subscribe here http://www.airpano.com/maillist.php
"Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my website something like that. Can I take a part of your post to my website?"
Lizette Reich, Argentina
Alina, AirPano: Lizette, thanks! Of course, but with keeping all references! ;)
"Awesome. Love it!!!"
Mohsin Rizvi, India
"No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, so he/she desires to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here."
Lilla Rivera, Brazil
"This just amazing and I love it!"
Wendell Glenn Cagape, Philippines
"Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me."
Morgan Caskey, Belgium
Alina, AirPano: We are happy to hear that, Morgan!
"My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!"
Doyle Dobbs, Cyprus
"It's very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this web page."
Carol Ocampo, Eritrea
"Hi, just wanted to say, I liked this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!"
Raymon Vest, Norway
"I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Excellent work!"
Sylvia Starling, Israel
"Excellent article. keep it up!"
Kathryn Leone, Israel
"Quality articles or reviews is the secret to be a focus for the users to visit the website, that's what this web site is providing."
Klaus Valle, Belarus
"you are actually a good webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing. It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you've done a great job in this matter!"
Refugio Barajas, Micronesia
"What's up to all, the contents present at this web site are genuinely amazing for people knowledge, well, keep up the good work fellows."
Ada Draper, Belarus
"nice blog. Highly recommended."
Antje Mulligan, Czech Republic
"I love it whenever people get together and share ideas. Great site, stick with it!"
Stevie Florence, Austria
"I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its really really good paragraph on building up new web site."
Ann Roark, Costa Rica
"I've been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before."
Fawn Oaks, Lao Peoples Republic
"It's remarkable to go to see this web page and reading the views of all mates concerning this piece of writing, while I am also zealous of getting experience."
Randal Higdon, Tonga
"Really good job. Thumbs up!"
Eddie Kearney, Japan
"Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to revisit once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others."
Melinda Payne, Mauritania
"Hello, i feel that i saw you visited my website thus i got here to вЂњgo back the desireвЂќ.I am attempting to find issues to improve my website!I assume its ok to use a few of your ideas!!"
Daryl Corwin, Mexico
"My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different web address and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to looking into your web page repeatedly."
Tim Buchanan, Norway
"What is the music played in the background of the Taj Mahal; would you send us the name of the tune and the CD fron which it was recorded. Thanks"
joe bet, Canada
Alina, AirPano: Dear Joe! Ashiv Desai - Awakening. Thank you for the interest in our project!
"Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support you."
Cliff Crowder, Turkey
"Thanks for finally talking about > Taj Mahal, India | 360 Degree Aerial Panorama | 3D Virtual Tours Around the World | Photos of the Most Interesting Places on the Earth | AirPano.com < Loved it!"
Beatrice Bivens, United Arab Emirates
"Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a top notch articleвЂ¦ but what can I sayвЂ¦ I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get anything done."
Erwin Arthur, Yugoslavia
"What's up, this weekend is good for me, since this point in time i am reading this fantastic informative piece of writing here at my house."
Venetta Reich, Armenia
"Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!"
Darlene Sheffield, Peru
"This is a topic which is close to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?"
Arlie Farr, New Caledonia
Alina, AirPano: Dear Arlie, thanks to you! You can contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org
"Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this post to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!"
Gina Albertson, Comoros
"It's awesome in favor of me to have a site, which is good in favor of my knowledge. thanks admin"
Jada Gamboa, Saint Kitts and Nevis
"I always emailed this webpage post page to all my contacts, because if like to read it afterward my links will too."
Lavada Rawlings, Bangladesh
"I visited various sites however the audio quality for audio songs existing at this site is truly wonderful."
Brigette Hartnett, Netherlands
"I visited several websites but the audio quality for audio songs present at this web page is in fact fabulous."
Latanya Mcfarlane, Belarus
"Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back later on. I want to encourage continue your great posts, have a nice day!"
Fernando House, Montserrat
"This design is steller! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!"
Emory Mott, Tajikistan
"Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by your blog. Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I'm confident they will be benefited from this website."
Jesse Calvert, Bulgaria
"I really like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I've added you guys to my personal blogroll."
Gabriele Stackhouse, Singapore
"Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it's new to me. Anyways, I'm definitely pleased I found it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!"
Sherlene Hutson, Hungary
"Well written article. keep going!"
Stacey Wing, Chad
"If some one needs expert view on the topic of blogging then i advise him/her to pay a visit this blog, Keep up the nice work."
Dale Bottoms, Liechtenstein
"Do you have any video of that? I'd want to find out some additional information."
Bertha Bolden, Australia
"Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!"
Janell Ruiz, Serbia and Montenegro
"Its not my first time to pay a quick visit this site, i am browsing this site dailly and take pleasant facts from here every day."
Danial Spruill, Macedonia
"I've been surfing online more than three hours today, but I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It's pretty value enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net will likely be a lot more useful than ever before."
Venetta Forrest, Djibouti
"Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!"
Alejandro Gearhart, Poland
Alina, AirPano: It's been over 2 years, thank you, Alejandro!
"Thanks for sharing your thoughts on India. Regards"
Connor Thorp, Nauru
"Admiring the commitment you put into your site and in depth information you present. It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same out of date rehashed information. Excellent read! I've saved your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my Google account."
Lorena Dowd, Luxembourg