Taj Mahal, one of the most revered of all historic structures across the globe attracts millions of people. The unparalleled beauty of this marvel in pure marble is a must visit for all! It is ranked as one of the seven wonders of the world and celebrated as the epitome of love created by emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Here’s what you need to know about the grand Taj prior to paying a visit and getting mesmerised by its unparalleled beauty:
– According to the history of the Taj Mahal, construction of this amazing structure began in the year 1631. It took 22 long years to complete with a skilled and efficient workforce of over 20,000 men. The structure got completed in the year 1653 at a cost of 32 million rupees (accounts for approx $400 million of the present era). You need to book a Taj Mahal tour package from travel agency to be able to experience the glory of this architectural wonder from close.
– The Taj Mahal was not designed by a single person. Varied talents was the demand of this project. It encompassed unique artistry, creativity, skills and abilities of several thousands. Over 20,000 artisans and master craftsmen worked on the project. These experts came from France, Persia, Italy, Iran, and Turkey. The names of these artisans were recorded for posterity on scrolls.
– Ustad Isa and Isa Muhammad Effendi, the Persian architect who was trained by Koca Mimar Sinan Agha, the great Ottoman architect, designed the architectural design of the beautiful complex.
Another the name of another architect ‘Puru’ from Benaras, Persia (Iran) is mentioned in the history books as supervising architect in Persian language texts.
– The main dome of Taj Mahal was designed by Ismail Khan, who belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Khan was also considered to be the main designer of the hemispheres. He also built the domes.
– A native of Lahore, Qazim Khan cast the solid gold finial which crowned dome of Turkish master.
– The chief sculptor of the marble wonder was Chiranjilal, a lapidary from Delhi. He was chosen as the chief sculptor and given charge of the mosaics.
– The chief calligrapher of Taj Mahal was Amanat Khan from Persian Shiraz, Iran. It is mentioned on the gateway of Taj Mahal. This is the place where his name was inscribed at the end of the inscription.
– The complex of Taj Mahal is bound by a crenulated wall of red sandstone on three sides. There is no wall on the river side. There are many additional mausoleums outside the wall. These include many of the other wives of Shah Jahan and a larger tomb for favourite servant of Mumtaz. Most of these structures, composed mainly of red sandstone.
– The charbagh of Taj Mahal is a Persian design. It was introduced to India by Babur, the first Mughal emperor. The charbagh literally means to gardens of Paradise. Paradise in Islamic texts is described as an ideal garden, filled with abundance.
– Mughal charbaghs are rectangular in form. These have a tomb in the centre. However, the Taj Mahal is unusual because the tomb is located at the end as compared to its location at the centre of the garden.
– A recent archaeological project proved the existence of the Mahtab Bagh or “Moonlight Garden” on the other side of the Yamuna. It is a mirror image and shows that the Taj sit at the centre of the garden.
– The Taj Gateway, a massive red sandstone structure was completed in the year 1648. It stands 30 m tall. Small cupolas or chhatris are sprinkled over the top to enhance its beauty. The gateway is beautifully decorated with calligraphy with verses from the holy Koran.
– Tomb of Mumtaz Mahal lays right under the dome. It is lined centrally with the main entrance. Besides the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, lays the tomb of Shahjahan.
– Originally, the tomb of Shahjahan was not intended to be there. However, Aurangzeb placed it there and broke the symmetry.
– The cenotaphs and crypt at the Taj owns pietra dura decoration. This is an unsurpassed example of an architectural beauty. It is revealed that as many as 35 different types of precious stones have been used to embellish a single bloom. These include the highest quality jade, turquoise, coral, agate, lapis lazuli, bloodstone, onyx, cornelian, garnet, jasper, and malachite were used to deck up blooms of honeysuckle, fuchsias, lily, and many more. Sadly, a lot is just left to imagination of visitors. Many of the precious stones were plundered or destroyed in the years.
– As per Muslim tradition, it is forbidden to integrate elaborate decoration to the graves. Hence, the bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan are laid in a plain chamber underneath the inner chamber of the Taj Mahal. The bodies were buried on a north-south axis. The faces were turned right (west) toward holy Mecca. Presently, the sarcophagus mirr (the two graves) is precise duplicates of tombs in the basement beneath.
– The pure white marble of Taj Mahal shimmers like silver in the moonlight. At dawn, it adorns soft pink glow, and towards the close of the day it reflects a golden hue of the setting sun.
– A little octagonal tower in Agra Fort located across Yamuna River gives the best view of the Taj Mahal. This was the place where Shah Jahan spent his last days gazing at the Mumtaz’s tomb.