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India has been a land of architectural marvels.

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Indian architecture is that vast tapestry of production of the Indian Subcontinent that encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time, transformed by the forces of history considered unique to the sub-continent, sometimes destroying, but most of the time absorbing. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that none the less retains a certain amount of continuity across history.

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Pietra dura, (Italian: “hard stone”), in mosaic, any of several kinds of hard stone used in commesso mosaic work, an art that flourished in Florence particularly in the late 16th and 17th centuries and involved the fashioning of highly illusionistic pictures out of cut-to-shape pieces of coloured stone. The resulting decorative mosaics were used primarily for tabletops and small wall panels.

A Pietra Dura table top of the Taj Mahal

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"They proliferated in places where it was hard to get water, like deserts," Lautman explains. Their designs -- which differ widely across regions are informed by varied environments.

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Agra Marble: the art of Pietra Dura

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Worth the time :-)

Some Facts:
The color of Taj Mahal appears to change color depending on the time of day. The color change also depends on whether there is moonlight at night.

The four pillars around the main dome were built to slant away from the dome slightly. This was done to help protect the tomb if the pillars ever collapsed.

The Taj Mahal took approximately 20 years and approximately 20,000 workers to complete. There were also about 1000 elephants used to transport the materials needed for construction.

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Nagara: The Nagara style is characterized by a beehive shaped tower (called a shikhara) made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as kapotas and gavaksas, all topped by a large round cushion-like element called an amalaka.

Dravida: The Dravida Style is characterized by a pyramid shaped tower consisting of progressively smaller storeys of small pavilions, a narrow throat and a dome on the top called the Sikharam or the Vimanam.

Vesara: This style reduces the height of the individual tiers without reducing their number resulting in a reduction in the height of the temple towers. The semi-circular structures of the Buddhist Chaityas are also incorporated in some of the temples of this style.

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By Discovery Chanel

Rare film of Ram Bahadur Bamjan ("Buddha Boy") who has been meditating for 3 years without food & water. Ram Bahadur Bamjan is known by many as a reincarnation of Buddha.

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The Bodhi Tree ("Tree of Awakening," also known as the Bo Tree) in Bodhgaya is a direct descendent of the tree under which Siddharta Gautama has attained enlightenment.

After 49 days of concentrated meditation and several battles with Mara (illusion), Siddharta became the Buddha, the "Enlightened One." The Buddha remained seated in meditation for a week after his enlightenment, then practiced walking meditation nearby for another week.
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