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Problems? Your computer may refuse to show anything other than an empty box. If so, and you are using Windows 7 as the webmaster does, fixing the problem is most simple. Print the image you will come to here & follow the few instructions. In other browsers I presume that you would follow the same approach i.e. get to the 'Java' program on your computer & fix the security level.

Of course you do need to install 'Java' to be able to see it. Easily done! It installs quickly & it is free. Just click on 'Free Java Download' here.

The above image of the Taj Mahal has been used before as a 'Lake' image, but not to my knowledge in such a large size. This use of an 'overlay' is far from perfect as many will recognise. It is however the webmaster's very first attempt at an overlay & was created with the help of Viper's fine tutorial. There is a lot to learn! One needs a very steady hand!

The webmaster has travelled to India and has visited the Taj Mahal on a number of occasions. It did not disappoint as so many famous places often do.

For eight long years, from 1658 to his death in 1666, Shah Jahan, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in the Jasmine Tower of the imposing red sandstone Fort at Agra. Today a visitor can stand where Shan Jahan stood all those years ago & see, as he did in his final years, the glistening Taj Mahal in the distance along the wide sweep of the Jamuna River.

Mere words are not adequate to describe this masterpiece in white marble. You should know, however, that it was commissioned in memory of Arjumand Banu Baygam, better known as Mumtaz Mahal (chosen of the palace), Shan Jahan's second & favourite wife. She had died at age 39, giving birth to their 14th child, a daughter, at Burhanpur in South India in 1629 while on a military campaign with her husband. Heartbroken, Shah Jahan commissioned Ustad Isa Khan Effendi, a Persian, to design a magnificent tomb of white Rajasthan marble for his beloved wife. He assembled artists & craftsmen from around the world to decorate it with such precious stones as carnelian, turquoise, amethyst & malachite. It is said that construction took 22 years, that a ramp two miles long was constructed to raise the materials to the upper levels & that a total of 20,000 workers were required. On the main level are the false tombs of Mumtaz Mahal & Shan Jahan (added later). The real tombs are in the lower chamber.

Beautiful from any angle, the Taj is at its most impressive when viewed close up. The walls, both interior & exterior are decorated with semi-precious stones inlaid in intricate flowered patterns & Islamic calligraphy (known as pietra dura). Screens & panels of delicate Islamic decoration dazzle the eye. Set in a formal garden high above the river, the whole design is indeed architectural perfection, especially so in the early light of dawn.

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