February 24, 2009
Must Buy: marble inlay in Agra, India
Until you see Agra’s Taj Mahal in person, it’s hard to imagine how impossibly beautiful a building can be. The classic images we know of this iconic structure seem to convey a stark white marble exterior, but upon closer examination you can see that the Taj Mahal is actually adorned with colorful inlaid semi-precious stones in intricate floral patterns. The effect is simply stunning, and when you realize that the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a symbol of love to his wife, also incredibly romantic. Over 20,000 master craftsmen and artisans were employed in the construction of the Taj Mahal and many stayed on in Agra after its completion. The marble-inlay industry eventually became an integral part of the city’s cultural heritage and identity, and today Agra produces some of the finest marble-inlay items in the world.
Many of our travelers are so impressed with the beauty of marble inlay in Agra that they want to purchase their own work of marble art. Our India tours include a visit to our favorite marble-inlay studio in Agra for those who are interested in purchasing an exquisite piece or simply to learn more about the inlay process. At the studio, our travelers observe skilled artisans—from the design and engraving of the marble to the hand-carving and sanding of semi-precious stones, such as mother of pearl, lapis, malachite and jasper. The studio is known for its high-quality marble-inlay products and its impressive selection, including tables, boxes, vases, frames, and more. Custom designs and pieces can also be arranged for those with specific motifs, colors or sizes in mind.
Our travelers visiting Agra stay at the luxurious Oberoi Amarvilas ,where they enjoy picture-perfect views of the Taj Mahal from their balcony. We also arrange for a private tour of the Taj, including visits at sunrise and sunset—the color of the monument changes dramatically under different lighting conditions.