Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a spectacular monument of Agra designed with white marble. The monument was constructed by a popular emperor Shah Jahan who loved his wife a lot and built this epitome of love. Mumtaz Mahal was the third wife of Shah Jahan. This attraction gives you the glimpse of a true Muslim art that clearly reflects in this masterpiece. It is also known to be the world heritage site.

Unlike the other monuments, Taj Mahal is also considered to be a fine example of the ancient architecture, especially of the Mughal era. This architecture reflects numerous styles including Persian, Indian and Ottoman Turkish.

It was in 1983 that the Taj Mahal was designated with the title of being the UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the highlighting features of this monument is its dome that enhances the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan ordered its construction in 1632 but it took a long time for its completion with the monument finally got ready in 1653.  Many artisans were employed for this work just to design a unique monument. The work of construction was entrusted to a panel that consisted of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, Abdul-Karim Ma'mur Khan and Makramat Khan for its supervision.

Origin and History of Taj Mahal

It was in the year 1631 that Shah Jahan who enjoyed the greatest period during his reign suffered from a setback after the death of his third wife. He was unable to bear the pain and his life was becoming hell. Though there was happiness around as 14th child of Shah Jahan was born but the death of Mumtaz made the atmosphere low. So in 1632, the emperor ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal. The main construction was completed in 1648 while the surroundings were completed in 1653.

After the completion of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan was captured by his son Aurangzeb and he died after going through the ups and downs of life. He was buried close to the tomb of his wife.

As no care was taken, some parts of the monument started to fall during the 19th century. It was around 1857 when the Britishers had entered in India. They seized all the treasures and the semi precious stones from the monument and left it to ruin. It was Lord Curzon who ordered for the renovation and repair of the Taj Mahal at the end of the 19th century. The repair work was finished in 1908. Beautiful lamps were installed near the Cairo mosque and even the garden was renovated.

Architecture of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is considered to be the best of the Mughal architecture and one of the renowned buildings admired all throughout the world. The monument is a highly complex structure that is spread in an area of 55 acres and consists of tombs, Taj Ganji and moonlight garden that face towards the south and north direction respectively. It is located on the River Yamuna with its construction starting in 1632 AD, (1041 AH) and ending in 1648 AD (1058 AH). The design is quite similar to Mumtaz’s house with a new touch given to it.

The Actual Tomb – Rauza

The monument is surrounded by lots of greenery all around while the main structure stands at a distance of about 275 meters from its main entrance. Having a height of 76 feet, the entire structure is created using white marble that enhances the beauty of this attraction. Platform is constructed using the red sandstone which leads to the banks of the river. The minarets have a height of 198 feet and consist of 8 windows. While its main structure is decorated in a traditional style with lots of gems on the walls.

The Taj Mahal is a square shaped structure with its corners chamfered and grand iwan that feature that is created through calligraphy. Even the iwan doors are also decorated with fascinating stuff that attracts many visitors. The iwan can be found on both the sides of the structure to fall at different angles to make it appear grand. The front portion of the monument consists of pilasters that rise high above in the sky and offer a graceful look to it.

As you enter the monument from the south direction, you will enter a central chamber that consists of two stories; one has 4 rooms while the other one has 4 small rooms. The use of these rooms was for the entertainment where different musicians played their instruments while the other rooms were occupied by the mullahs. Some of these rooms were open and could be used in times of need. The central chamber consists of a tomb of Mumtaz which is right at the center along with the emperor’s tomb. Its chamber is around 80 feet high with its interiors finely decorated in the Mughal architectural style. Overall design of the dome is done in such a manner that the sound echoes. It is quite an interesting fact and the visitors love this experience a lot.

The white marble monument is known for its dome shaped design that stands tall and erect even till today. Its height up to the finial will be around 145 feet which is quite surprising and makes the structure look very captivating. The dome was designed to fulfill two purposes, one is to provide a high ceiling to the structure and the other is to increase the overall height of this monument which is easily accomplished through the domes. As the domes are hollow from inside hence its weight can be easily supported by the structure and there are no chances of any kind of damage to its design.

Symbol of Love

The Taj Mahal is considered to be the epitome of love and it gives you a glimpse of the true love story that the Mughal emperor shared with his wife Mumtaz.  Most of the scholars are of a view that this monument is a perfect example of a true love and has been a symbol of love for many couples. On the other hand, there are a lot of rumors about the Jahani propaganda. As there is no clear information available on it, therefore this question is still a debate for many scholars. The Taj Mahal combines a number of architectural styles and Persian is one of them. It has definitely augmented this structure in a different way and lead to its overall beauty as well. This is the reason that the Taj Mahal is a must visited attractions around the world, both by the Indian tourists as well as the foreigners.

Expenditure Cost of Taj Mahal

Before constructing the Taj Mahal, its cost was estimated around 4,000,000 rupees but later on when the structure was finally completed, its cost rose to 5,000,000 rupees. Once the monument was completed, a trust was formed who would look after its cleanliness and beauty. An amount of rupees 300,000 was fixed for this work and a person was charged with the responsibility of its supervision. Various sources of generatng income for its maintenance included taxes paid by the people while one third were generated from the 30 villages that formed a part of the Agra city. Trading was the major resource to collect money that can be used in taking care of the structure while the leftover money was distributed by Shah Jahan as per his decision. Routine maintenance of the structure kept its beauty and shine as it was a freshly constructed monument while the Hafiz used to sit near the tomb and pray for the peace of the Queen every day.

Tourism in Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited attractions of all and in 2001, the UNESCO estimated that about 2 million people had visited this site.  Out of 2 million, around 200,000 were international tourists who loved India and its traditional culture. There are entry charges for visiting this attraction which is usually low for the Indian visitors while slightly costly for the foreign tourists. November to February is the best time when thousands of visitors come to Agra and explore this epitome of love. No vehicles are allowed to enter the complex while the visitors can make their entry through a special gate. The atmosphere around is quite cool and pleasant. You can even enjoy the natural beauty of the river Yamuna. Khawasspuras is not open for public as it is going through some renovation work and will be soon open.

Next to the Taj Mahal, you have a small bazaar which is also known as Taj Ganji. It offers a lot of important things that may be required by the visitors along with a few food stalls as well. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and also included in the new list of Seven Wonders of the World.

The Taj Mahal is open one all days from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m but on Fridays special prayers are organized from 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.  During the time of full moon day, this attraction is open for night viewing as well as except during Ramadan and Fridays.  You can only carry water bottles, cameras, purses and mobile phones within the campus.

How to Reach

By Air

Khera airport is the nearest airport located 6 kms from the Agra city and offers flights to different destinations like Delhi, Jaipur and connecting routes. You can come to the airport through taxis as well as rickshaws by paying a reasonable price.

By Train

Several trains run from Delhi to Agra including the Taj Express (2.5 hrs), Shatabdi Express (2 hrs) and the Intercity Express (3 hrs).

By Road

You can find AC as well as non AC buses from various destinations like Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Gwalior, Jhansi etc.

Related Image

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