The Taj Mahal and the gardens around it now:
This comparison was prompted by Ruchira's email mentioning a recent book published on the gardens of the Raj: "The book claims that while English women of the Raj period
introduced exotic European flowers and residential green lawns in India, Lord Curzon's manicure of the grounds of the Taj Mahal may have been a wrongheaded attempt at landscaping."
It is evident that the greenery takes a larger share of the focus with the earlier design, harkening back to the general principles of Mughal Gardens, of which Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir, built by Emperor Jahangir for the redoubtable Empress Nur Jahan is an excellent example. But the clearing of the greenery that was part of the main approach to the Taj Mahal, Curzon forced the viewer to focus on the building and architecture. The garden became a thin frame around a central 'monument to love', rather than part of a harmonious whole in a sylvan wonderland.
What do you think? Does the Taj look better with the severe manicure of the grounds or with the lush greenery preceding the 20th century 'makeover'?