Taj Mahal, “A Shrine of Love” is one of the most striking shrine in the world. It is situated on the bank of river Yamuna, in the city Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Taj Mahal is a white marble Burial chamber which was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal is also known as “The Jewel of Muslim Art in India”. In 1983 the masterpiece of world’s heritage was selected as 7th wonder of the world by UNESCO. On full moon night the Taj Mahal seems to glow in the light.
In the year 1631, Shah Jahan, a Muslim army commander and emperor of Mughal Empire in central India lost his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a few minutes after delivering her 14th child, A Daughter. The last wish of Mumtaz Mahal was to build a dream like tombstone such as the world had never seen before. As an assurance, Shah Jahan build Taj Mahal in Agra, which placed in Northern part of India to justify the dream of his Wife. The construction of Taj Mahal started in 1632 and ended in 1653. That is it took about 22 years to complete the construction of the beautiful shrine, Taj Mahal. As the construction finished, Shah Jahan the Mughal emperor was imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb in Agra fort, from where he used to see the Taj Mahal. After the death of Shah Jahan, his grave was also placed next to the grave of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is also said that when the construction of Taj Mahal ended, the king Shah Jahan cut the hands of their workers, so that they do not make any other similar shrine again.
- CONSTRUCTION of TAJ MAHAL
The construction of Taj Mahal took a period of 22 years, it started in 1632 and ended in 1653. The construction of Taj Mahal cost about 32 Million Rupees. 1000 of elephants and ox were also employed to deliver the heavy material from one place to another. The architects of Taj Mahal achieved the most beautiful appearance through this creation. Taj Mahal is the results of efforts together put by the experts artists of that time. The beautiful lush green gardens also increase the beauty of the monument.
- ARTISTS & WORKERS
In the construction of Taj Mahal many famous artists were involved. It consist a creative team of 37 men which include sculptor and calligraphers from Persia inlayers who came from southern part of India, stone cutters from Baluchistan, the designers specialized in carving marble and an expert in making tower. The deigned plan of Taj Mahal was finally produced by – USTAD AHMAD LAHAURI. The dome of Taj Mahal was constructed by – ISMAIL KHAN AFRIDI and the calligraphy on the dome was done by – AMANAT KHAN SHIRAZI. The poetry on the stone of the tomb is done or written by the poet – GHYASUDDIN. PURU – from Persia was known as supervising architect, who supervise thousands of labour appointed together in the construction of Taj Mahal. CHIRANJILAL from Delhi was the chief sculptor and mosaic architect.
- BUILDING MATERIAL
The main tomb of Taj Mahal was made of white marble, whose colour changes according to the light of the day. 43 kinds of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the inlay work of interior and exterior parts of Taj Mahal. The material used are :- Red Sand Stone from Fatehpur Sikri, White Marble from Makrana, Rajasthan, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Yellow Amber from Burma, Badakhshan from Afghanistan, Lapis Lazuli from Egypt and Jasper from Punjab. Some of the other semi-precious stones are Topaz, Onyx, Garnets, Sapphires, Rubies and Quartz which were brought from Himalayas and the precious stone like Diamond was brought from Golconda which enhance the beauty of stunning monument – THE TAJ MAHAL.
- ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS
Taj Mahal is the blend of Hindustan and Persian art. The entire area of Taj Mahal measures 1902*1002 feet. It is a rectangular plot.
1. The Tomb
The main attraction is a white marble Tomb, which stands on the square platform covered with huge white dome, whose top is decorated with lotus flower. The 4 equal pillars stood there which surrounds the white dome from each corner. The dome of the Tomb is also known as Onion dome because of its shape. The top of the dome was decorated with Gold but it has been replaced with Bronze in 20th century. The tomb consists the false grave of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan in the main hall. The actual graves are placed in the lower level of the tomb. The Grave of Shah Jahan is bigger than the Grave of Mumtaz Mahal. The Tomb is square in plan with chamfered corners.
2. The Main Gate
The main gate stands opposite to the main tomb. It is made of red sand stone. It is 93 feet in height. It is the best example of fine inlay work. The gate has a plentiful inlay work of white marble and precious stones are done into the red sandstone surface. On the top of the gate 11 domes are erected with two high supports on the side. Some Quran wordings are also emblazoned in black stone on the white marble surface. It has exquisitely crafted doors on the two sides, one opening towards the court-yard side to receive tourists from all three entry gates, and the other side opening towards the grand white marble Taj Mahal.
3. The Taj Gardens
The Taj Mahal gardens not only enhances the beauty of Taj, but they also give it the peaceful and tranquil ambience which makes visiting the Taj Mahal a real preference. The gardens of Taj Mahal are divided into 4 parts with two main walk way. The 4 parts of garden are further divided into 4 parts, so it is also known as Charbagh of Taj Mahal. The Charbagh depict the image of 4 gardens which represents Water, Honey, Milk and Wine. A line of musical fountains passes in between the main walkway from the main gate to the base point of white marble tomb. The gardens consists of various kinds of trees, birds and flowers which enrich the prettiness of the Taj Mahal.
4. The Naqqar Khana and The Mosque
The east and west side of Taj Mahal stood 2 complex of red sand stone and they are Naqqar Khana and the mosque. Both are opposite to each other and gives even shape to Taj Mahal. Naqqar Khana is the guest house of Taj Mahal which is also known as Mehman Khana. The mosque on the west of Taj Mahal gives a new contrasting look to the whole area of the tomb.
- How to get there
Agra is the major city of Uttar Pradesh. It is also known as city of forts and palaces. A large number of tourists come every year to visit Agra, so it is well connected to Road, train and Air. But in the complex of Taj Mahal one has to travel by foot.
- When to Visit
A large number of visitors throughout the world are attracted towards Taj Mahal. Two types of entry ticket system moves in Taj Mahal. One for Indian Class which is lower and one for the Foreigners which are higher. On Friday Taj Mahal is closed. Taj Mahal is open for night viewers on full moon night.