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Taj Mahal

The symbol of unconditional love, Taj Mahal, was conceived by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. It took 22 years to finish this master piece. Spread in the vast expanse of 42 acres, this magnum opus is 171 meters tall. Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Arjumand Banu Begum popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal.

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Introducing Taj Mahal

The magnanimity of the structure is quite visible from the façade of its entrance. As you enter the mausoleums complex and see the mighty Taj Mahal, you feel overpowered with the devotion and the painstaking efforts with which such a huge structure was raised in times when technology did not exist to overtake engineering challenges.

It has combination of Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture with the Persian style a little heavier than the others. There are several elements which add to this magnificent structure. Various segments of the structure include Moonlight Garden to the north of the Yamuna, the gardens known as Charbagh, the gateway and the bazaar called the Taj Ganji.

Taj Mahal’s dome, its most distinct feature, is 35 meters high and is decorated with exquisite motifs of lotus and spires. The motifs inside the tombs are carved out on marble and decorated with semi precious stones like jade, coloured marbles and gold. The motifs were later replaced by bronze in the 19th century.

Divided in various chambers, Taj Mahal is constructed in such a way that natural light sweeps in the structure to make it look more jubilant and attractive. The cenotaphs are covered with marble jalis or screens which are considered to be one the most typical Persian features and a revolutionary design of the times. When you talk about the detailing, one cannot forget to mention the pietra dura inlays of flowers, fruits and wines.

The exteriors humble you even more. Even if you cannot read the inscriptions of the Holy Quran, you can touch and feel the piousness of those verses. The incised painting, herringbone inlays and tessellation patterns add to the defining elements on the exterior. 

 

History of Taj Mahal

When Shah Jahan conceived to make a mausoleum for his beloved wife Arjumand Banu Begum popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, he would have not imagined his contribution to the Mughal architecture will be hailed for times immemorial.

Records testify that it was after six months of Mumtaz Mahal’s death that her once buried remains were brought to Agra and re-buried in Taj Mahal to make it her final abode.  This architectural marvel was meant to be a heaven on Earth. Indeed it has lived up to its expectations even when the times and tastes have changed.

It is said that the gardens and the pool waters are designed keeping in mind the description of jannat or heaven in the Holy Quran. Shah Jahan got grief stricken after the demise of Mumtaz Mahal during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Her nostalgia inspired him to build this artistic wonder. The land on which Taj Mahal stands today belonged to the Kachhwahas of Ajmer (Rajasthan). He exchanged the land after Shah Jahan offered a prime fort to the Rajput at the city centre.

The place where Mumtaz Mahal rests was completed in 1648. The construction material for Taj Mahal was imported from across the world which includes countries like China, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Arabia. The workers artisans and mason were commissioned from across Central Asia and Iran.

The structure was built under the supervision of board of architects including Abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

No wonder that Taj Mahal, a phenomenon in both old and modern times, was chosen to be the World Heritage site in 1983 and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 

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