Taj Mahal -The Symbol of Love



Tag: Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : (1631-1648 AD)

Year of Inscription : 1983

Reasons for Inscription: The reason behind including the Taj Mahal in the list of World Heritage Sites is its unique architecture that has balanced beautiful aesthetic qualities, symmetry and harmonious blending of different stylish elements and architectural splendor of Indo - Islamic construction style.

Category: Secular structure, burial

Timing : From 6 am to 6 pm

Closed on : Friday

N.B: Night visiting at Taj Mahal starts at 8pm and continues till 12.30 am


Aeroplane

BY AIR

The fastest way to reach Taj Mahal (Agra) is by air. Indian Airlines operates daily flights from the country capital Delhi to Agra, Taj Mahal's city. Kheria Airport is Agra's local airport, about 6 km from Agra City Centre.

BY RAIL

Getting to the destination by train is one of the easiest ways to get to Agra. Agra Cantonment is the main railway station. The main trains from Delhi to Agra are the Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani, Taj Express, etc.

Car

BY ROAD

There are regular bus services from Delhi to Agra. Agra is about 203 km from Delhi by road. Both normal and AC buses run from Delhi, adding to the comfort of this summer journey.




The Taj Mahal is a huge mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Built over a 20-year period on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, the famous complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture combining Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. The Taj Mahal itself is at its center, built of shimmering white marble that seems to change color depending on the daylight. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it remains one of the most celebrated structures in the world and a stunning symbol of India's rich history.

Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal family that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid 18th century. Shah Jahan emerged victor of a bitter power struggle with his brothers after his father's death, King Jahangir, in 1627, and he crowned himself emperor at Agra in 1628. At his side was Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal ("Chosen One of the Palace"), whom he married in 1612 and cherished as his three queens ' favorite.

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Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 after giving birth to the fourteenth child of the couple. The grieving Shah Jahan, known throughout his reign for commissioning a number of impressive structures, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. Construction began around 1632 and would continue in the next two decades. The chief architect was probably Ustad Ahmad Lahouri, an Indian of Persian descent who was later to be credited with designing the Red Fort in Delhi.

Overall, over 20,000 workers from India, Persia, Europe, and the Ottoman Empire, along with some 1,000 elephants, were brought in to build the mausoleum complex.

Design and Construction of the Taj Mahal


Named the Taj Mahal to pay tribute to Mumtaz Mahal, the burial chamber was engineered of white marble adorned with semi-precious stones (including jade, crystal, opaque gem, amethyst and turquoise) forming convoluted styles during a technique called pietra dura. Its central dome reaches a height of 240 feet (73 meters) and is surrounded by four smaller domes; at the corners were four slender towers or minarets. In accordance with Islamic traditions, in addition to numerous other sections of the complex, verses from the Quran were inscribed in calligraphy on the arched entrances to the mausoleum.

Inside the mausoleum, an octagonal marble chamber decorated with carvings and semi-precious stones housed Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph, or false tomb. The actual sarcophagus containing her remains lay below, at the level of the garden. The rest of the Taj Mahal complex included a main red sandstone gateway and a square garden divided into quarters by long pools of water, as well as a red sandstone mosque and an identical building directly across from the mosque called a jawab (or "mirror"). Traditional Mughal building practice would not allow future modifications to be made to the complex.

As the story goes, Shah Jahan intended to build a second grand mausoleum from the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River, where his own remains would be buried when he died; the two structures would have been connected by a bridge. In fact, in 1658 Aurangzeb (the third son of Shah Jahan with Mumtaz Mahal) deposed his ailing father and took power himself. Shah Jahan lived the last years of his life under house arrest in a Red Fort tower in Agra, with a view of the majestic resting place he had built for his wife; when he died in 1666, he was buried next to her.

"Have you known? According to one gruesome (and most likely sensational) story, after the completion of the structure, Shah Jahan had his minions cut off the hands of the architect of Taj Mahal and his workers, ensuring that they would never build another of its kind."
















Taj Mahal Over the Years

Under the long rule of Aurangzeb (1658-1707), the Mughal Empire reached the height of its strength. His militant Muslim policies, however, as well as the destruction of the many Hindu temples and shrines, undermined the empire's enduring strength and junction rectifier to its death by the mid-18th century.

Even as Mughal power crumbled, in the two centuries after the death of Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal suffered from neglect and disrepair. Near the turn of the 19th century, as part of a colonial effort to preserve India's artistic and cultural heritage, Lord Curzon, then British Viceroy of India, ordered a major restoration of the mausoleum complex.

Today, the Taj Mahal is visited by some 3 million people a year (or around 45,000 a day during the peak tourist season).

India's Supreme Court ordered several anti - pollution measures to prevent deterioration of the building. Some factories were shut down, while vehicle traffic from the immediate vicinity of the complex was banned.