8 Images

Delhi & Taj Mahal, India

Shimmering on the banks of the Yamuna River, the marble Taj Mahal is an architectural spectacle, its symmetry — four minarets and matching mosques on two sides — enhanced by its reflection on the water. Because worshipers must face east, only one of the mosques is functional; the other was duplicated for purposes of symmetry. (Scott Kraft / Los Angeles Times)
The onion-domed Taj, as seen through an archway. The hotel where Times staff writer Scott Kraft stayed — the Oberoi Amarvilas — had excellent views of the Taj Mahal, less than half a mile away. (Scott Kraft / Los Angeles Times)
The huge courtyard at Jami Masjid, India’s largest mosque, accommodates up to 20,000 people at prayer times and as many pigeons at other times. (Jan Butchofsky-Houser / Corbis)
Looking toward the gate from the Taj Mahal. (Scott Kraft / LAT)
An elephant takes life in a slower lane — or perhaps makes its own lane — in Jaipur, one of the points in India’s Golden Triangle, a 430-mile tourist route that includes Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Ringed by rough-edged hills, Jaipur features a striking town center known as the Pink City, named for the color it was painted for a 19th century visit from Prince Albert, and the City Palace, built in the early 18th century by Jaipur founder Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II. (Richard Goetz)
Delhi’s split personality is embodied in its bustling, narrow streets, such as this one, as well as in broad boulevards; areas with squatters in makeshift tents near homes with grand facades; and districts of teeming humanity that give way to lush, forested parks. In the Spice Market, bicycle rickshaws bore The Times’ Staff Writer Scott Kraft among wooden carts of rice, spices and flowers. (Steve Stathatos)
In Delhi, a city of 14 million, a walk through India’s history includes a visit to Gandhi Smriti, the house where Mahatma Gandhi was staying in 1948 when he was assassinated by a lone gunman as he walked to prayers. Gandhi’s last steps are marked on a narrow path through a quiet garden. (Richard Goetz)
Agra Fort, built by the Mogul emperor Akbar, is a vast fortified palace in the Taj Mahal’s city, a 145-mile drive from Jaipur. That trip over a two-lane road can require a drive to weave in and out among goats, monkeys, camels, cows, elephants, carts, tractors, with ancient forts dotting the hills above. (Scott Kraft / LAT)