Queen Of The South Season 5 On Dvd latest 2023

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Tear Drop on the Face of Eternity – The Taj Mahal

It’s a moment of crisis in the camp tonight. As the sun set, the call from the royal tent had sounded so that the surgeon and the royal bodyguards camped next to the imperial enclosure were gone with the calls for hot water and more light. A camel, led by a shriveled man in a loincloth, arrives piled high with brushwood and firewood, and soon the sparks rise in the inky night and dark shadows cast against the canvas of the enclosure. Somewhere in the darkness of the desert, a wolf howls, unmoved by the army encamped nearby and the drama unfolding at its center. A woman’s screams of agony pierced the steady murmur of an army of voices, the crackle of fires and the occasional whistle of an agitated cavalry horse. As the hours go by, the cries become more frequent and the whole camp is in the grip of the events taking place in the emperor’s tent. Glittering Orion rolls impassively across the sky, now descending towards the western horizon, its inexorable descent marking the passage of the hours. Ears prick up at the first vigorous moans of a newborn baby, causing the sentries to agitate and minutes later the surgeon appears, silhouetted against the glowing light of the fires in the imperial enclosure, his bloodied tunic and weariness deep in his sunken eyes. . A quick conversation with the sentry and the word spreads like wildfire through the encamped army – the queen is dead. Mumtaz Mahal, the jewel of the palace and the most beloved of the Mughal Emperor: confidante, wife, mother and companion, has passed on to eternity. She bore Emperor Shah Jahan’s 14th child and was his constant companion, even in the theater of war – but this campaign against the Lodi princes of the Deccan to secure the southwestern reaches of the empire will be his last. Mughal power in India is at its peak, the first conquests started by Emperor Babur in 1535 and now consolidated by his great great grandson. In the cold gray light of dawn, a grieving emperor gives the order to break camp and begin the long march northeast to Agra and the Mughal heartland, thoughts of war forgotten. Legend has it that on her deathbed, Mumtaz’s last request of her husband was to promise him a monument to their love – she did not realize to what ends her husband would go to fulfill this promise.

 

The Taj Mahal is the fulfillment of this promise and is the world’s greatest monument of love, standing in all its glory on the banks of the Yamuna River. “A tear on the face of eternity” is how Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindrath Tagore described it. A small sarcophagus sits in the center of the building, all there is to remind us that this is above all the last resting place of a queen. Standing in the cool dimness of the interior of the mausoleum, one is easily distracted by the grandeur of the surrounding building. For three and a half centuries, the exquisite marble trellis which forms the airy walls of the tomb has allowed the hot dust-laden breaths of summer and the fragrant breath of the monsoon to caress the cold stone of the tomb which find there. My footsteps echo off the cold marble floor and whisper eerily around the high dome above, and as I do so I feel a tear in the fabric of time – as the ghostly echoes whisper insistently from the dark void above, they also whispered of those who trod this same ground three and a half centuries ago.

 

This was my second trip to Agra to see the splendours of the Taj. Overall, things have gotten a bit busy and organized in India since my first visit in the early 1990s; helped of course by a bit more wealth and an increased budget on my part too. Escaping the pleasures of a slow and dirty Indian commuter train, with India piling up in glorious ruckus, we took the fast, air-conditioned, clean and comfortable case from Delhi to Agra, which dropped us off in two hours at the station cantonment. It wasn’t half as fun as the 5 hour hob-nob with the locals I enjoyed the first time though. Of course, Agra is India’s most touristy city and touts and scammers swarm around any newcomer like flies around the proverbial, but don’t let that put you off – firm handling and hard bargaining will get you through. go by taxi. city ​​and a clean room. We dumped our bags and lay on our beds as the outside temperatures soared to 45 degrees and planned our itinerary for the next 3 days. Traveling to India between April and August is not for the faint-hearted – daytime temperatures are killer and so are mosquitoes. Whatever season you visit, do yourself a favor and knock at dawn on those huge wooden doors at the Taj’s entrance pavilion and demand entry. The early morning cool is bliss before the sun rains down its mighty hammering beats on the back of your head, and an early arrival puts you front row for the spectacle of morning rays turning the dome into a glow ethereal almost impossible to describe. And the added bonus is that you’ll be well ahead of the crowd, allowing you to stand alone in the center of the mausoleum and listen to the whispers of eternity echo from the dome above.

 

From 1631 to 1648, architects, engineers, masons, artists and an army of laborers worked hard to build the Taj. 61 meters high and 25 meters wide, the dome dominates the vast plain that are the Indian plains. Each section of the central edifice is clad in shimmering white marble carved from quarries in Nagaur, 550 km away. The mausoleum itself sits in a formally landscaped walled garden which is accessed through a pavilion at the south end. From this pavilion, one looks north towards the dome, which is our familiar view of the Taj and perhaps the most photographed view in the world. Reality and fiction are intertwined; as only they are capable in this land of myth and mystery, and legend has it that the hands of the craftsmen were cut off when the work was completed so that never again another Taj Mahal could be built. Another is that Shah Jahan planned a black Taj Mahal on the opposite bank of the river as his own mausoleum – a mirror image of the monument to his wife. Where the legend ends and the truth begins is up for debate, but what is known is that Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb, who incarcerated him in Agra Fort around 5 km upstream, where only the sight of the Taj and its memories accompanied it. to his death. There is a lot of sadness around the Taj, which is not entirely associated with the Mumtaz and the Shah Jahan. Many tears must have been shed by the mothers and widows of those who died building the monument. And they are certainly dead, because transporting the huge blocks of marble and red sandstone 550 kilometers from the Makrana quarries and then dragging them over ramps and scaffolding would have caused its share of victims, not to mention those who succumbed to the heat and disease during the 21-year construction period. Then there were the taxes levied to pay for construction work which would have imposed an additional burden on the peasantry. The Taj can therefore be interpreted not only as a memorial to the queen of an empire, but also to those who worked hard to bring it into existence. India’s most recent Nobel laureate, VS Naipaul, described the Taj as “so wasteful, so decadent and ultimately so cruel that it is painful to stay there for very long. It is an extravaganza that speaks of the blood of the people “. Controversial but undoubtedly magnificent, it stood unmoved for more than three and a half centuries against the backdrop of declining empires, wars, famines, floods and disease. The Taj is the mark of high tide in an often indescribable sea of ​​human effort and it was perhaps the genius of Shah Jahan; concentrate the efforts of ordinary men and women to build a monument not only to Mumtaz, but to themselves, and thus achieve a minimum of immortality.

 

So do yourself a favor and buy yourself a plane ticket to Delhi, take a slow train to Agra, then stroll even more slowly through the sacred stillness of the tomb and marvel at the wonder of it all that. But I must add a warning though – India will seduce you to the extent that your ruin will be complete – it will become a lifelong love affair, entertaining you as only an affair of the heart can.

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