Love they say, knows no boundaries. The Taj Mahal is a classic example of this. Built by the Mughal EmperorShahjahan, for his beloved wife Mumtaz, Taj Mahal monument which was built on the riverbank of Yamuna in the city of Agra stands testimony of the fact that Shahjahan was indeed madly in love with his wife and he wanted to build a monument which will always go down in history as the ultimate tribute of pure, pristine and virtuous love. It is said that after completion of the monument Taj Mahal, Shahjahan ordered that the right hand of the mason be cut, so that the masterpiece could never be recreated.
Mankind can never ever recreate or build the finest example of architectural beauty (Taj Mahal) which Shahjahan built centuries ago with all the modern technology and equipment available now. The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture in its classic beauty and splendor which combines styles from the Persian, Islamic, Indian and Turkish elements. The Taj, a masterpiece recreated by Shahjahan, and which is now a Heritage Site declared by the UNESCO is a monument which makes Indians extremely proud to be a part of this wonderful creation and which has definitely put India in the league of most visited tourist place. The chief designer of Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was completed in 1648. White marble was used to build the entire structure which was inlaid with semi-precious stones.
It is said that the plinth and tomb took 12 years to complete and all the exterior decoration like garden, entrance, walls etc took another 10 years to complete. The cost of the construction was estimated to be around 32 million rupees. The materials were transport by 1000 elephants. The precious and semi-precious stoneswhich were inlaid into the marble were brought from different parts of the country. The labor force was called in from Northern India while the creative unit was called from Persia, Baluchistan, Syria.
A huge Mughal garden called charbagh surrounds the complex which has sunken flowerbeds and a reflecting pool in the centre which reflects the image of the Taj Mahal.
The marble dome which is mounted on the tomb is of the same height as that of the base of the building. The top of the dome has a lotus design on it. The four sides have chattris in the corners. The chhatris which open through the roof provide light to the interiors.. The gilded spire is made of bronze which is crowned at the main dome. The finial has a moon whose horns are pointed upwards so it resembles a typical Islamic motif and also resembles the Hindu symbol of Shiva. Thus the filial is an example of integration of Persian and Hindu elements. The entire structure is very symmetrical. There is also a place for the muezzin to call the prayers. The work found on the tomb is very detailed and delicate. The calligraphy used in Taj Mahal structure is made by jasper inlaid in white marble. Passages from the Quran are used throughout the complex. Abstract forms and vegetative motifs are found on the walls, plinths, gateways
The inner chambers of Taj Mahal are designed with precious and semiprecious gemstones. There are four central upper arches and each window of the balcony is intricately carved with jali cut from marble.
The white marble tomb (Taj Mahal) stands on a square plinth consisting of a symmetrical building with an iwan. The base structure is a cube with chamfered edges and is multi-chambered. On the sides of Taj Mahal a pishtaq frames the iwan with arch-shaped balcony. Four minarets at each corner frame the tomb. The main chamber of Taj Mahal has the cenotaphs of Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal while their graves are on the lower level. The beauty of the monument can be viewed in its entire splendor on a full moon night when it looks like pearl. The white marble assumes different tints and tones throughout the day like it is pearly pink at dawn.
The graves of Mumtaz and Shahjahan in Taj Mahal are placed facing the Mecca. Both their caskets have calligraphic inscriptions which identify and praise them. Shahjahan's grave has a small pen box inscribed on it with a writing tablet which differentiates the two graves.
It is said that as soon as Taj Mahal was constructed, his son Aurangzeb imprisoned him and he spent his last years gazing at it from the Agra fort where he was kept. After his death Auranzeb buried him next to Mumtaz Mahal.
Taj Mahal is one of the most important tourist sites of India which attracts around 2lac foreigners yearly. The Taj Mahal featured in the old Seven Wonders of the World and it also features in the new Seven Wonders after it got votes from all over the world. It was a great moment of pride and glory for all the Indians as it is symbol of passion and epitomizes love which Indians have always associated themselves with.
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