India Through the Eyes of Ellen Churchill Semple



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The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the Indian City of Agra on the south bank of the Yamuna River. The monument is an ivory-white mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughai emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658) to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Hahal. The complex is nearly 42 acres with the tomb as its centerpiece as well as a mosque and a guest house all of which are set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated (open spaces at the top of a wall that allows guns or cannons to be shot outward) wall. Construction of the complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 for a cost of the equivalent of 827 million US dollars. UNESCO describes the site as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” The Taj Mahal attracts more than 8 million visitors a year and it was declared a winner of the New7Wondersof the World initiative.

This card was produced from a photo by H. A. Mirza, who took photos of Indian monuments and produced postcards in the early 20th century.

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Special Collections Research Center, University of Kentucky Libraries

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