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For centuries, the Taj Mahal has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in word, colour and song. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. Since the 17th century, travellers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love, and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty. Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built in the memory of the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum, who won the heart of a Mughal prince. She was married at 21 to Emperor Jahangir’s third son Prince Khurram and stayed loyally by his side through good times and bad: in the luxurious royal palaces of Agra as well as the transient tents of war camps.
In AD 1628, Khurram became king after a bloody battle of succession: he took the name Shahjahan or “King of the World” and showered his beloved begum with the highest titles. She became Mumtaz Mahal, the exalted of the palace and Mumtaz-ul-Zamani, the exalted of the Age. But Mumtaz Mahal was not destined to be queen for long.
In 1631, Shahjahan went on an expedition to the south and, as always, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied him. But she died in childbirth at Burhanpur. She had borne Shahjahan fourteen children, of whom four sons and three daughters survived. When Mumtaz Mahal died, she was just 39 years old. Shahjahan was inconsolable and contemporary chronicles tell of the royal court mourning for two years. there was no music, no feasting, and no celebration of any kind.
Epitome of Love
Taj Mahal Shahjahan, who was a passionate builder, now decided to erect a memorial to his queen in pristine marble that the world would never forget. The site selected for the tomb was a garden by the Yamuna river, unshadowed by any other structure. The garden had been laid by Raja Man Singh of Amber and now belonged to his grndson, Raja Jai Singh. By a royal firman, Shahjahan gave Jai Singh four havelis in exchange for the garden. The site was also chosen because it was located on a bend in the river, and so could be seen from Shahjahan’s personal palace in Agra Fort, further upstream.
Taj Mahal the most beautiful building in the world. In 1631 the emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz,.The white marble mausoleum at Agra has become the monument of a man's love for a woman. Shah Jahan came to power in 1622 when he seized the throne from his father, while murdering his brothers to ensure his claim to rule. He was known as an extravagant and cruel leader. But he redeemed himself by his generosity to his friends and the poor, by his passion in adorning India with some of its most beautiful architecture, and by his devotion to his wife Mumtaz Mahal - "Ornament of the Palace." He had married her when he was 21, when he already had two children by an earlier consort. Mumtaz gave her husband 14 children in eighteen years, and died at the age of 39 during the birth of the final child. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a monument to her memory and her fertility, but then relapsed into a life of scandalous behavior. This tomb was only one of hundreds of beautiful buildings that Shah Jahan erected, mostly at Agra and in the new Dehli that came into being under his planning.
Many architects have rated it as the most perfect of all buildings standing on earth. Three artists designed it: a Persian, an Italian, and a Frenchman. But the design is completely Mohammedan. Even the skilled artisans who built it were brought in from Baghdad,Constantinople, and other centers of the Muslim faith. For 22 years more than 20,000 workmen were forced to build the Taj. The Maharaja of Jaipur sent the marble as a gift to Shah Jahan. The building and its surroundings cost more than $200,000,000 in todays currency. Passing through a high wall, one comes suddently upon the Taj - raised upon a marble platform, and framed on either side by handsome mosques and stately minarets. In the foreground spacious gardens enclose a pool in whose waters the inverted palace becomes a quivering dream. Every portion of the structure is of white marble, precious metals, or costly stones. The building is a complex figure of twelve sides, four of which are portals. A slender minaret rises at each corner, and the roof is a massive spired dome. The main entrance, once guarded with solid silver gates, is a maze of marble embroidery; inlaid in the wall in jeweled script are qotations from the Koran, one of which invites the "pure in heart" to enter "the gardens of Paradise."
Taj Mahal – The White Legend of Love
Applauded as the zenith of medieval architectures, the Taj Mahal nestling on the shifting sands of the shimmering Yamuna, is most alluring in the relative quietness of early morning, shrouded mists as the colour changes from soft yellow to pearly cream and then the most dazzling white. The Taj Mahal is generally considered as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Indian and Islamic craftsmenship. Built by emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal has become a epitome of love because of the romance of its inspiration. This enduring icon of India, which even today captures the imagination of billions across the world, is indeed a fascination to experience on your next visit to India.
“Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”
-- Sir Edwin Arnold
The Creation of the 7th Wonders
Legend has it that the emperor loved his wife so much that, after her death, he went into seclusion for two years and reappeared wearing glasses and hair completely grey. The picturesque Taj Mahal does not adequately convey the legend, but made many eminent writers including nobel laurate Rabindranath Tagore to say the mausoleum 'a teardrop on the cheek of time'. Taj Mahal means 'Crown Palace' and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. Walk amidst the lush green manicured gardens and see the marble magic standing stately as a symbol of eternal love; affording an ambrosial green and white matrix of colours. The tomb is set against the shimmering sands of river Yamuna and it is believed that it is this background that works for its magic of colours that, through their reflection, change the view of the Taj.The colours change at different hours of the day and during different seasons; portraying different moods of a woman. The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines before its marble head.
Walk on the marble floor that caress a fascinating calligraphy and mosaicwork adorned with precious stones. Once inside, you will be overwhelmed to see elaborate marble designs embossed cheek-by-jowl with semi-precious stones such as jade, crystal, turquoise and coral. Ask your guide and he might help you to see exquisite magical charms of the mausoleum; optical effects that eventually create an illusion. Walk on the sun-kissed marble ramparts and chuck a gaze at Yamuna, the emerald waters flowing silently in the shadow of history. Stay some more time until dusk breaks. Believe us, seeing the sheer white magic by moonlight is a lifetime experience.
Inside Taj Mahal
The architectural complex of the Taj Mahal consists of the main gateway, the symmetrically planned garden, the mosque, the rest house, and the the Taj Mahal mausoleum. The actual Tomb is situated inside the Taj.
Taj Mahal, about 900 ft away at the north end of the garden, stands on two bases, one of sandstone and above it, is a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) worked into a black and white chessboard design and topped by a huge blue-veined white marble terrace. The four corners of the platform are adorned by four white minarets, each of them 41.6m high.
The mausoleum, which is the central on the platform, is square structure with beveled corners. Each side is 56.6 m long with two pointed arches flanking a large central arch. While each corner is decked with small domes, the centre has the main double dome topped by a brass finial. The exterior portions are emblazoned with exquisite calligraphy, beautifully carved basso relievo panels and inlay work in the form of immaculately proportioned large floral tendrils which cover the surface of the white marble. The calligraphy of the high domed ceiling of the octagonal main chamber is done in a kind of trompe l'oeil style, which creates a decorative illusion- the letters gradually increase in size as they go up the side of the structure, so that from the ground all letters appear perfectly uniform. The calligraphy mainly consists of verses from the Quran and melodies of musicians.
In the middle of the main chamber there are the pseudo- tombs of Mumtaz and Shah Jehan. The original tombs lie in a lower-burial vault. A marble screen surrounds the tombs. It is cut with such finesse that it appears almost translucent. Both tombs are embellished with precious stones and gems brought from far flung places of the world. While the top of Mumtaz's tomb is embellished with the 99 names of Allah, Shah Jahan's tomb is set with a pen box, the stylemark of a male ruler.
Location of the Taj Mahal
The Location of the grand Taj Mahal was carefully chosen by Emperor Shah Jahan, as the site was clearly visible from the Agra Fort. Located on the banks of the River Yamuna the Taj Mahal in Agra, India gives the impression of a humongous lone white cloud rising from the ground in unparalleled grandeur and enigmatic charm, full of unspoken promises of love and bonding.The location of the Taj Mahal was chosen to complement its beauty and to create a mausoleum complex that would be according to Shah Jahan's conception something similar to Allah's paradise. The location of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is such that you can marvel at the reflection of this monument on the silver waters of the River Yamuna.The artistically designed Char Bagh and the pretty lotus pond that greet you as you enter the Taj Mahal complex in Agra, India are sure to steal your heart, in fact the complete panorama is breathtaking.