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Taj Mahal

About Taj Mahal
Agra-The City of Taj

Taj Mahal Architecture
Charbagh-The Taj Mahal

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About Taj Mahal » About Taj Mahal Architecture

About Taj Mahal Architecture

About Taj Mahal Architecture The Mughals are famous for their architectural passion, which is evident from the numerous majestic monuments they built across India. But the one that strikes out is the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra, built by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. Taj Mahal not only marks the zenith of Mughal architecture but is also the culmination of tomb architecture, which began with the building of the mausoleum of emperor Humayun (the second Mughal emperor and the great grandfather of Shahjahan). Renowned for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with India and is undoubtedly the epitome of India tourism.

The structure of Taj Mahal adheres to the Islamic style (Mughal style) of architecture, which flourished in India during the medieval period. The Islamic style of architecture is also referred to as the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. This magnificent monument is set around a Charbagh or 'four garden' plan, which is split by watercourses - a reflection of the Persian style. The Taj Mahal itself is not set within the Charbagh but is located towards the far end of the enclosure near the bank of River Yamuna.

Taj Mahal is built on a high plinth, which has four tapering minarets at each corner. At the center of this plinth is an octagonal structure comprising of a central hall, with four smaller halls grouped around it. A central bulbous dome stands atop the roof of the Taj that is surrounded by four chhatris (domed canopy, supported by pillars, mainly seen in Hindu or local monuments and sometimes in Islamic buildings). The Taj Mahal is a two-storied structure, each having arched recesses with a highly decorated iwan in the middle. The tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shahjahan are actually located in the basement, while their replicas are placed directly above in the upper hall.

The Taj Mahal is entirely made of white marble and its pure white walls are decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work. It is said that different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on Taj Mahal.

In spite of its massive proportions, Taj Mahal looks weightless and airy. Each section of this unique monument blends harmoniously with each other to create a perfect unit. Broadly, the Taj Mahal complex can be divided into distinct parts to understand its design and architecture. These are:

The Taj Gateway: Befitting the most beautiful symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, is the gateway to this great monument. Taj Mahal looks like a miniature on the landscape from a distance, but appears to grow as you start to approach it. But, the minute you would enter the open square before the main entrance, you will be surprised to find the Taj Mahal disappear from your sight. Actually, the Taj is hidden by the massive red sandstone gateway within this square. The massive Taj Gateway was completed in the year 1648 and stands 30 m high. The gateway is topped by small cupolas or chhatris. Symbolic of the divide between the material and the spiritual, the gateway is decorated in calligraphy with verses from holy Koran.

Charbagh - The Taj Garden: Leaving the entrance gateway you can see a sprawling garden in front of you, which goes all the way up to the plinth of the Taj Mahal. The beauty of the Taj Mahal is accentuated by the garden laid out in the Persian Charbagh (four garden plan) style. The entire area of the Taj complex is 580 m (1,902 ft) by300 m (984 ft), while the garden alone makes up an area of 300 m (984 ft) by 300 m (984 ft). More…

Taj Mahal - Pietra Dura The Tomb: The tomb stands on its own marble plinth, which rests on a red sandstone platform. Four tall pillars, 138 ft each, rise up from the corners of the white marble plinth are topped with eight windowed cupolas. This has been made to replicate throne of God in paradise. Immediately below the dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal which is centrally lined with the main entrance. Besides Mumtaz Mahal's tomb is the tomb of Shahjahan. The tomb of Shahjahan was not actually intended to be there but Aurangzeb placed it there thus breaking the symmetry.

Pietra Dura: The crypt and the cenotaphs at the Taj carry pietra dura decoration of a fabulous unexcelled elegance. As Percy Brown, the noted art historian observes, the Taj "resembles the spirited sweep of a brush rather than the slow laborious cutting of a chisel". As many as 35 different types of precious stones have been used on a single bloom-turquoise, jade, agate, coral, lapis Lazuli, onyx, bloodstone, cornelian, jasper, garnet and malachite used to fashion blooms of fuchsias, lily, honeysuckle, etc. The ninety-nine names of Allah have been used to decorate the eastern and western sides of Mumtaz's grave in the crypts. Today, much is left to the imagination of the visitors as most of the precious stones have been plundered or destroyed in the years when Taj Mahal fell into insignificance.

Click on the following links to know more about Taj Mahal Agra.

Taj Mahal | Agra - The City of the Taj | Taj Mahal Architecture | Charbagh - The Taj Garden |Legends of the Taj Mahal |Taj Mahaotsav - Taj Festival |Hindu symbols in Taj Mahal | Attractions near Taj Mahal |Palace on Wheels |City Map of Agra | Tourist Map of Agra | Shopping in Taj City |Hotels in Agra - the City of Taj |Location & Climate of Taj City |How to reach the City of Taj

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