Taj Mahal History

Situated on the banks of the Yamuna, in India is the majestic Taj Mahal, one of the eight wonders of the world, a monument to love, built by a king in everlasting memory of his beloved queen.  The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal and is an excellent example of Mughal architecture which has stood the test of time to remain one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings of the world.  The beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond mere words and presents different aspects to the viewer as per the time of the day. The Taj Mahal glows in the light of the full moon, iridescent and shimmering, at dawn the Taj Mahal is bathed in an ethereal hue and sunset imbues it with a milky white glow.  On a fog filled morning the Taj appears as if suspended on a cloud when viewed from across the river.

Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor married Arjumand Banu a Persian Princess, and renamed her Mumtaz Mahal,  in 1612 and so began a love story that ultimately resulted in the Taj Mahal.  Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth as she accompanied her husband the king into battle.  It is said that the king was so devastated by her death, that his hair and beard turned white.  In her memory and as a monument for his love was built the Taj Mahal an ‘elegy in marble’.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Information

Taj Mahal Location: Agra, India
Taj Mahal Coordinates: 27.174799°N 78.042111°E
Taj Mahal Elevation: 171 m (561 ft)
Taj Mahal Built: 1632 - 1653
Taj Mahal Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahauri
Taj Mahal Architectural Style(s): Mughal
Taj Mahal Visitation: More than 3 million (in 2003)
Taj Mahal Location: On the banks of river Yamuna in Agra
Taj Mahal Built By Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
Taj Mahal Spread Over 42 acres
Taj Mahal Significance One of the Seven Wonders of the World
Taj Mahal UNESCO World Heritage Site
Taj Mahal Type: Cultural
Taj Mahal Criteria: i
Taj Mahal Designated: 1983 (7th session)
Reference #: 252
Taj Mahal State Party:  India
Taj Mahal Region: Asia-Pacific

Construction Details and Different Parts of the Taj Mahal

Construction of the mausoleum began in 1632, a year after the death of Mumtaz Mahal, and was completed in 1653, spanning over two decades, employing over 20,000 laborers and at a cost of 32 million rupees.  The master architect was Ustad Isa and craftsmen came from far and wide to contribute their artistry to the building of the tomb.  The Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble and inlaid with precious stones and the most beautiful calligraphy of the verses from the holy Koran.

The Taj Mahal is based on an upraised square platform with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon.  The style of architecture is Interlocking Arabesque where each element is complete itself and perfectly complements with the whole.  The principle of design is self replicating geometry and a perfect symmetry of each and every built element.

The visible central dome is 58 t in diameter and reaches up to 213 ft in height and is surrounded by four smaller domed chambers, which replicate the design of the main dome.  The main dome is decorated with a lotus design and is topped by a golden finial. The four slender minarets are 162.5 ft each and provide the essential balancing symmetry to the entire structure.  The complete mausoleum is in pristine white marble and is ornamented with inlaid design of flowers and intricate calligraphy using precious gems and stones.

The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal, while the actual grave is at a lower level.  After the death of Shah Jahan he was buried besides his queen.

The main mausoleum is a part of a grand designed complex consisting of a main gateway, a beautiful landscaped garden, a mosque to the left, a guest house to the right and several minor palatial buildings.  The Taj is at the farthest end with the gently flowing Yamuna behind it.  The large elaborate garden consists of four pools dividing it at the centre and each pool is further divided into four sections.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a World heritage Site.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Exterior Decoration / Calligraphy

The texts refer to themes of judgment, They are:

  • Surah 91 – The Sun
  • Surah 112 – The Purity of Faith
  • Surah 89 – Daybreak
  • Surah 93 – Morning Light
  • Surah 95 – The Fig
  • Surah 94 – The Solace
  • Surah 36 – Ya Sin
  • Surah 81 – The Folding Up
  • Surah 82 – The Cleaving Asunder
  • Surah 84 – The Rending Asunder
  • Surah 98 – The Evidence
  • Surah 67 – Dominion
  • Surah 48 – Victory
  • Surah 77 – Those Sent Forth
  • Surah 39 – The Crowds

Taj Mahal Hours and Visiting Time

6:00 am to 7:30 pm (Friday closed due to prayers)

Taj Mahal Tickets Information and Fees

  • Rs. 970 (Foreigners) (Indian Rupees)
  • Rs. 20 (Indians, During Daytime) (Indian Rupees)
  • Rs. 110 (Indians, During Sunrise and Sunset) (Indian Rupees)

Taj Mahal Attractions

  • Agra Fort
  • Akbar's Tomb
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb
  • Vrindavan


See Also Other Natural Wonders in Asia