We have seen images of Agra’s Taj Mahal innumerable times in films and on TV. But inspite of the varied imagery, there were certain parts within the World Heritage monument where photography was restricted. Now, photographer Pravin Talan has been given access to these off-limits areas to shoot a fashion calendar.
Says Pravin, “This is the first time a shoot of such nature has ever been done in the Taj Mahal. Previously on rare occasions, the authorities allowed a photo shoot, but only for a limited time. And they were not allowed beyond the Central Tank or close to the monument.” The calendar is part of an initiative by the Archaeological Survey of India, which is completing 150 years, and is partly funded by the Taj Mahotsav Committee.
Featuring international models donning creations by Indian designers such as Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the calendar titled With Love From Taj, covers everything between the main entry gate and the exit points, Central Tank and Mehmaan Khana.
“We haven’t disturbed the main white marble platform area (where the tomb of Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz is housed) but shot inside at places with a clearer view,” he says, adding that the pictures from the shoot will also be used on souvenirs like posters and postcards.
Strangely, this calendar is being been released almost in the middle of the year. “Taj Mahotsav is usually held towards the end of February, but this year, it was conducted at the end of March because of the elections in UP, so we wanted to have a soft launch during the Mahotsav itself,” says Pravin.