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For the love of the Taj

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SHEER BEAUTY There was once a time when no tickets were required to enter the Taj Mahal nor were their hours restricting entry
SHEER BEAUTY There was once a time when no tickets were required to enter the Taj Mahal nor were their hours restricting entry

The Smiths walk down the nostalgia path sharing anecdotes about the Taj

The Taj has evoked reams of writings since ages. An enigma of a beauty, which has almost always succeeded in making visitors fall in love with it, most writings about it turn out to be a declaration of one's fascination with. Something of `awed-writing' if such a term exists. And therefore, in most cases, the author name changes but the treatment remains the same.The Taj - Myth And Reality too is a collective expression of one's love for this `perfect beauty' on marble. Edited by R.V. Smith, the book spans articles, mostly published in various newspapers, periodicals and journals, from 1906 till now. Smith, a native of Agra, has included the already-published articles largely written by his family though it includes an article by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on the Taj, one by Reverend H. Hosten S.J. on the Italian claim that the Taj was actually built by a Venetian by the name of Geronimo Veroneo and yet another eye-opener of an article by Percy Brown. Smith's father, Thomas Smith too had dealt with the issue of Taj's construction in an article published in The Statesman in the 1930s, which has found its way to the book thanks to his younger son Neville Smith, who carefully preserved it for so long."There were no tickets to enter the Taj those days nor were their hours restricting entry. So we used to spend most of our evenings at the Taj," recalls Smith. As Smith himself says at the end of one of his articles, "Pardon the exaggeration but that is the Taj effect for you." SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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