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mass of ruin. Few persons can have an idea of the painful sensations excited by such a view of this once celebrated city, for few have the opportunity of contemplating an object so deplorable! In the midst of this chaotic heap of desolation, our attention was suddenly roused by a stupendous fabric bursting on our view, in complete repair and resplendent beauty—a splendid structure, with domes and minarets of the purest white, surmounting the dark umbrage of rich surrounding groves, produced in such a situation a most extraordinary effect.
Previous to our arrival, Sir Charles Malet had corresponded with Mr. James Anderson, the British resident at Sindia's durbar, and his last letter mentioned that the Taje Mahal had been appropriated by the Mahratta chief for our accommodation at Agra. This was the edifice which had now excited our astonishment, and thither we were immediately conducted. On alighting at the grand entrance, built of a light red stone, inlaid with white marble, we walked into a large court, with apartments on three sides like those of the serais. To the right and left of this square, a gate of similar construction opened into the street; near eacli of those gates is an enclosure containing a beautiful dome of white marble, sacred to the memory of eminent persons; opposite to these mausolea is a spacious serai. Magnificent as was the first entrance, the one fronting it on the opposite side of the square was still more so; the roof being ornamented with two rows of small domes above the entablature, each row containing eleven of those elegant white cupolas with gilded spires. This superb portal, which indeed forms a spacious apartment, is ascended by a noble flight of steps; a similar descent on the other side leads to an extensive garden, enriched with groves of cypress and other trees. In the centre is a noble avenue, with a canal and fountains, leading to a large marble reservoir, with a beautiful jetle d'eau. On each side of the garden is a respondent structure of elegant architecture; one a musjid, or place of worship, the other apparently intended for the accommodation of the great officers of the imperial court. Between those buildings, at the termination of the garden, on the banks of the river Jumna, stands the mausoleum of the empress Momtaz Mahal, deservedly the wonder of the eastern world.
This magnificent mausoleum, slightly introduced from Sir Charles Malet's manuscript in my account of Ahmedabad, is now considerably illustrated from the same valuable source, several sheets of Mr. Cruso's journal being lost after mentioning the arrival of the embassy at Agra.
. Taje Mahal, standing due north and south on the southern bank of the river Jumna, was built by the command of the emperor Shah Jehan, for the interment of his favourite sultana, Momtaz Mahal, pre-eminent, or most honoured of the seraglio; or Momtaz al Zumani, superior of the age; both having been the titles of the empress. This mausoleum is commonly called Taje Gunse, or Taje Mahal, meaning the repository, or the abode of the diadem, alluding allegorically to her as the most brilliant gem of the seraglio. The word seraglio being an Italianization of serah, or mohl serah, signifying the female apartments held sacred amongst the Mahomedans. The posthumous title of the empress was Mehd Aalea, which means " Reposing in Heaven."
The emperor Shah Jehan intended erecting a similar mausoleum for himself on the opposite side of the river, and connecting the two magnificent structures by a bridge; but succeeding events having prevented the completion of this great design, his remains were, by order of his son and successor, Aurungzebe, also deposited in this beautiful edifice, which, in point of design and execution, is one of the most extraordinary works anywhere extant. The admirable art and nicety of the masonry has hitherto withstood the effect of time; nor have successive barbarous and predatory conquerors yet violated its sanctity and beauty. Two great squares or areas contain the principal buildings; those of the outer one seem intended for the convenience of travellers, distant visitors, and the inferior officers and dependents of the roza, a name for the mausoleum, but implying something saintly or sanctified. The inner square, which is entered through a stupendous dome, with brass gates, most elaborately and exquisitely worked, is an entire garden, shaded by numerous stately trees, adorned by marble canals and a fine reservoir, studded with fountains through the middle avenue. The right and left boundaries of the garden are formed by magnificent buildings for recreation and devotion.
At the extremity of the garden, opposite the grand entrance, and overlooking the river, stands pre-eminent, and alone, elevated on a very extensive platform, having a lofty minaret at each corner, composed entirely of beautifully white marble, the imperial roza; in which, under the grand centre dome, rest the ashes of the emperor and his consort in separate tombs. My inquiries respecting the quarries whence this marble was procured were not satis
VOL. IV. c
factorily answered. I nave been told such marble is produced in the province of Marwar, but this requires confirmation.
The beautiful inlaid work, in imitation of flowers in their natural colour, all of precious stones, forming borders and other ornaments in the white marble and alabaster of the interior, has been already mentioned at Ahmedabad, together with several other interesting particulars of this wonderful fabric.
CONTINUATION OP THE JOURNEY FROM SURAT TO CALCUTTA
"And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare.
The naked savage, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine 3
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave." Goldsmith.