Taj Mahal is probably the most famous building in the world. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. Taj Mahal is considered one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed . It’s picture has covered many magazines , travel brochures, and everyone has probably seen a picture of it, but nothing really compares with the real thing.
Those who come to see the Taj with high expectations never fail to be overwhelmed by its beauty.
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan to enshrine the body of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal after she died in 1630 at Burhanpur in South India. The construction started in 1632 and was completed in only 21 years . The workforce of some 20,000 included craftsmen from Italy, Persia and Turkey. It is built by the bank of the Yamuna river not very far from the Agra Fort.
The whole structure is more than 55 meters high built in white and yellow marble. The Taj Mahal is flanked by two smaller red stone buildings, one a mosque and the other a rest house. Outside the walls surrounding the tomb, you’ll be harassed by many hawkers, but the Taj and the surrounding gardens are haggler free, so even with the huge crowds visiting the mausoleum,
The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements.
It is a relaxing place. Most people spend several hours around the Taj or in the gardens, which are well maintained. The garden has a geometrical structure, and is believed to symbolize paradise.
To enter the mausoleum, you need to put a cloth around your feet like everywhere in India. You can rent it for a small fee just before the stairs leading to the tomb. If you want to go barefoot, you will certainly burn your feet on a sunny day due to the marble heating up under the Indian sun. Inside the mausoleum it is surprisingly chilly. The interiors are rather dark, and on first sight there’s not much to see, but if you take a closer look you will see all the fine marble carvings decorated with many precious and semiprecious stones of any color (sapphire, topaz, coral) . If you’re accompanied by a guide, he will certainly show you that a lot of the interior decorations are made of transparent marble. In the middle of the room inside the Taj, a screen of carved marble surrounds the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, also built exclusively in marble .
The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.
It’s important to remember not to miss visiting the wonderful mausoleum of Taj Mahal if you spend your vacation in India.