|Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, designed by Emperor Shah Jahan, 1630 to 1653.|
Color sketch by Ralph Rapson, from Ralph Rapson Sketches and Drawings from Around the World, courtesy of the Afton Press.
On my first trip to India, I had been advised to see the Taj Mahal by full moon, if possible. Built in Agra by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, the white marble structure stands amid dozens of acres of landscaped promenades and reflecting pools.
The crowds of tourists had vanished by the time I reached the Taj, and I was virtually alone as I walked the grounds, which were bathed in milky moonlight. It was a profound experience, equaled in my life only by similar viewings of the Acropolis and Machu Picchu. – Ralph Rapson