Page C1.1 . 14 February 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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    Online Trip to the Taj Mahal

    by ArchitectureWeek

    The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is arguably one of the world's most beautiful architectural treasures. Armchair Travel, Ltd. now makes it possible for tourists, historians, researchers, and students to take an interactive "virtual walk" around this building and its gardens over the Internet. Through QuickTime animation technologies, visitors can both see the site and hear narratives about its history through simple mouse-click navigation.

    The Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century to fulfill a promise to his wife as she lay dying. Her white marble mausoleum sits in the magnificent Chahar Bagh, or Gardens of Paradise, flanked by a mosque to the west and guesthouse to the east, both of red sandstone.

    On entering the "grounds" of the virtual Taj Mahal, visitors can look around by panning up, down, left and right. Having spotted something of interest they can zoom in for a closer look. Two easy-to-follow maps also ensure that, unlike the real tourist, they can jump around the gardens and monument at the click of a button.

    The Web site has a number of 360-degree panoramic views including some taken from spaces off limits to regular tourists, like the roof and the crypt. All of the panoramas are accompanied by descriptive narration and music. The Daily Mail of London reports: "You can almost hear your footsteps reverberate around the rooms."



    ArchWeek Photo

    The Taj Mahal in Agra, India and the Celestial Pool of Abundance.
    Photo:, 2000 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd.

    ArchWeek Photo

    The great white marble dome of the mausoleum is flanked by free-standing minarets from which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer.
    Photo:, 2000 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd.


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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