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Architecture of Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal , the symbol of Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, guarded by four minarets on each side, is well-known for its architecture all around the globe. The grand architecture of the monument is unmatched by any other monument built during the Mughal times. It is rightly considered as an example of architectural brilliance due to its model of scientific planning. Therefore, it is also one of the 7 wonders of the world.

 

Located on the banks of river Yamuna, Taj gets a unique character because of its dome which is built of white marble as well as encrusted with semi-precious stones due to which it changes its color in the day and on moonlit nights.

Each of the 4 minearet is around 40 meters tall and gives it a wonderful sight and goes wonderfully with the main structure of the monument. These minarets are built in such a manner that it is slightly slanted outwards which has been that in case an earthquake strikes, no harm is done to the main structure. The walls of Taj have intricate drawing and jail work which helps the visitors in admiring the beauty of the floral motifs. The calligraphic work on the arch of the entrance carrying verses from the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, leaves one mesmerized. The beautiful floral and plant pattern with slender twigs and the twist and turn of the leaves make a matchless piece of art.

 

'One for the album' is what aptly describes the lawns of the Taj Mahal. A picture postcard with Taj Mahal as the backdrop is what every one visiting the Taj aspires for. The lush green lawns and the waterways meeting the pool at the center makes yet another fascinating sight. The reflection of the Taj on a clear day is what makes the experience more exciting. Add a number of fountains around and you have a perfect picture postcard.

 

While visiting Taj Mahal, wanting to capture a perfect picture moment is all that a tourist desires. With the fascinating monument at the background, fresh green grass, waterways and clear reflection of the Taj in the pool is the sight of immense joy. Along with being the symbol of eternal love, this has also reflected the longing of the visitor to get a picture clicked perfectly, capturing the beauty of the ambiance and excitement during the trip.

 

Taj Mahal is seen as the earthly replica of the house of Mumtaz in Paradise and instrument of propaganda for Shah Jahan. When the pages of history are flipped, it gets revealed that by the time Shah Jahan was ascended to the throne, that Agra had an approximate population of 700,000 and was a center of trade both by land and water. A lot of artisan characterized by great workmanship, spiritual worth and literary talent had started visiting this land, which shows a major impact on the grand architecture of Taj Mahal. Read further for detailed information on the architecture of Taj Mahal.

 

 Construction:

The site of chosen for construction the mausoleum was situated on the southern edge on the bank of the Yamuna River and was bought from Raja Jai Singh.  In January 1632 AD Mumtaz’s body was moved to Agra from Burhanpur with great ceremony. Work for Taj Mahal had already started when the body arrived. A small arched building was built to cover the body of the king’s most loved princess.  The Humayun’s tomb had one of the most direct influences on the Taj Mahal’s design while the central dome and Iwan entrance has been taken from the Gur-e-Amir.  The concept of Paradise garden came from Persia, being the first architectural expression made in the Indian sub-continent, fulfilled diverse functioning along with depicting the strong symbolic meaning.

 

Foundations:

Laying the foundation of this world wonder posed itself to be a great challenge as in order to support the substantial load of this grandeur monument, the loosely packed sands of the river bank needed to be stabilized. To realize this wells were downcast and then cases in timber and finally filled with iron, rubble and mortar after which the construction of terrace could be completed. The large complex of Taj Mahal was divided into five sections and each of the section was being worked on simultaneously. Trees in the complex were planted immediately so that they could mature as work progressed.

 

Costing:

The Taj Mahal was built from 1630 to 1653 and the initial estimates for the cost of the works was rupees 4,000,000 which future rose to 5,000,000 by the time of completion. A separate trust was established for continuous maintenance and was sanctioned a grand amount of rupees 300,000 for the same. About one third of this income came from the 30 villages of the Agra district while the remaining came in the form of revenues generated from the trade, bazaars, caravanserais etc.

 

Architects and craftsmen:

The court documents do not provide any references in context to who designed the Taj Mahal but it is supposedly designed by an Italian Geronimo Veroneo and Ustad Ahmad Lahori is supposed to be its architect. Shah Jahan unlike any other Mughal emperor took great interest in the construction phase of Taj Mahal and use to hold daily meetings with his supervisors and architects. He would appropriate alterations in the skillful architect design after many thoughts. Mir Abdul Karim, the favorite architect of Jahangir together with Makramat Khan contributed in the construction of Taj Mahal.

 

Calligraphy and decoration:

 

The passages of the Quran are used for decorating the Taj Mahal complex. It is suggested by the scholars that the passages were chosen by the calligrapher Abdul-Haq. Much of the calligraphy is composed of florid thuluth script, made of jasper or black marble. The calligraphy on the marble cenotaphs is very detailed and delicate. White inlays are used in sandstone buildings and dark or black inlays on the white marbles. Mortared areas of the complex are painted and stained in contrasting colors forming complex geometric patterns while the walkways and floors make are beautified using contrasting blocks and tiles in tessellation patterns. 

 
The marble architects while creating this worldly wonder made use of remarkable optical effects. The first view of this monument is framed by the main gate. As the visitor gets closer to the Taj Mahal it seems to get smaller, while it grows bigger as you walk away. According to the guides ‘when you leave you take the Taj away with you in your heart’.