Amma, Take Me to the Taj Mahal

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AMMA, TAKE ME TO THE TAJ MAHAL
by Bhakti Mathur
Publisher: Puffin (2022)

Bhakti Mathur is a former banker who now juggles time between writing, yoga and family. She began writing in 2010 and is the author of the bestselling Amma, Tell Me series. She holds a Masters degree in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from the University of Hong Kong. As a freelance journalist she contributes regularly to the South China Morning Post. She is also a life and career coach. She lives in Hong Kong with her husband, their two children and two dogs.

Armchair Travelling got a new dimension with the Take Me Series; making readers sit and read and also eager to go and visit the places!

Shiv and Veer love to explore different monuments of India and indulge into the historical richness of India. Amma provides the historical, social, geographical and cultural perspectives of the shaping of each monument and the same goes with the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is the monument that’s known worldwide and yet there are lots of aspects to it which people might have not known. This book gives them that in a consolidated form.

The book has a conversational approach wherein the two boys and their mother try to understand the making of the Taj Mahal and its present day upkeep. Not only does Amma give information about the Taj Mahal and its inspiration and ideas but even the children contribute to the conversation by putting in their own understanding. This gives the readers a better way to connect with the characters and the connection increases.

Illustrated by Priyankar Gupta, the conversation gets a steady support of images to refer to. The monument of Taj Mahal gets a 360 degree insight into the how, why, when and where it was built. Additionally, the reason for it to be built the way it is ie. to withstand floods and earthquakes had another aspect to it.

The history of Mughals, the Delhi Sultanate, Battle of Panipat and the rise and the fall of Mughal Empire are chronicled through questions, answers and facts that add a beautiful way of learning about the Taj Mahal. Fully colored, every page is a visual treat for the readers; be it kids or adults.

As a reader, I loved the way Bhakti put the imagery in words and Priyankar supported it with the illustrated drawings. The artistic rendition of this book is striking. Rarely does the feat of putting the physical thing into a book format get done so seamlessly and for that I am glad that I got the opportunity to go through this book. The interconnectedness of the story of Taj Mahal across different famous personalities, time periods, culture and incidents is the gist of this book.

Overall, the book gives a very clear picture of the past and the present of a monumental marvel called the Taj Mahal. Though pegged into the children’s literature category, I recommend this for adults too!

This book is one of the many books by Bhakti Mathur that explores different heritage places in India.

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