Taj Mahal The True Story

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The Taj Mahal  ‘Crown of the Palace’, is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was dispatched in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the burial chamber of his number one wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it additionally houses the burial place of Shah Jahan himself. The burial place is the focal point of a 17-hectare (42-section of land) complex, which incorporates a mosque and a visitor house, and is set in formal nurseries limited on three sides by a crenelated wall.

Development of the tomb was basically finished in 1643, however, work proceeded on different periods of the venture for an additional 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is accepted to have been finished completely in 1653 at an expense assessed at an opportunity to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2020 would be roughly 70 billion rupees (about the U.S. $916 million). The development venture utilized about 20,000 craftsmen under the direction of a leading group of engineers drove by the court draftsman to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

Architecture 

The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on the design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. Specific inspiration came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, the progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand), Humayun’s Tomb which inspired the Charbagh gardens and has-behest (architecture) plan of the site, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan’s own Jama Masjid in Delhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. Buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement.

Tomb

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. It is a large, white marble structure standing on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. Like most Mughal tombs, the basic elements are Persian in origin.

The base structure is a large multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners forming an unequal eight-sided structure that is approximately 55 meters (180 ft) on each of the four long sides. Each side of the iwan is framed with a huge pishtaq or vaulted archway with two similarly shaped arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas, making the design completely symmetrical on all sides of the building. Four minarets frame the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; the actual graves are at a lower level.

           

Garden

The complex is set around a large 300-meter (980 ft) square charbagh or Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds. Halfway between the tomb and gateway in the center of the garden is a raised marble water tank with a reflecting pool positioned on a north-south axis to reflect the image of the mausoleum. The elevated marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar in reference to the “Tank of Abundance” promised to Muhammad.

Elsewhere, the garden is laid out with avenues of trees labeled according to common and scientific names and fountains. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by Babur, the first Mughal emperor. It symbolizes the four flowing rivers of Jannah (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise garden derived from the Persian paridaeza, meaning ‘walled garden.’ In mystic Islamic texts of the Mughal period, Paradise is described as an ideal garden of abundance with four rivers flowing from a central spring or mountain, separating the garden into north, west, south, and east.

 

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