Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dreaming of Moonriver in the Garden of the Taj Mahal, Redux

Yet one solitary tear
Would hang on the cheek of time
In the form
Of this white and gleaming Taj Mahal

Rabindranath Tagore

Statement of Purpose: The white marble tomb of the Taj Mahal stands prominently along the Yamuna riverbank, situated on the northern edge of a classic four-fold Mughal garden built in Agra, India in the 17th century. Although legends of a "Black Taj" across the river had long been dismissed, this research examined the archaeological evidence at the garden opposite the Taj Mahal, known as the Mahtab Bagh or "Moonlight Garden." Working as a collaborative team, we sought to determine the landscape architectural aims, layout, components, and meanings at this historic Mughal garden.

In 1995, the Mahtab Bagh comprised a roughly 24-acre rectangular site buried beneath a meter of flood-deposited soils, with fragments of a riverfront wall and corner tower. Residents of three nearby villages cut grass and scrub around the garden, scavenged brick and sandstone building material from the site, and commuted to work across-the Yamuna River by ferry.

This is a new incarnation of a favorite post, that I viewed on Moonriver long ago, that speaks to my love of poetic beauty.

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