This immortal poem in white marble is the finest expression of love of an emperor for his queen. The Taj Mahal is on the bank of Yamuna river. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal in 1631.The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. Agra is crowned with the glory of the unparalleled Taj Mahal, a sheer pertry in marble with which Mughal architecture reached its zenith. The splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the Mughal empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Taj Mahal is an "dream of marble" or some say an realization of a "dream". Taj Mahal means Crown Palace. It is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber who died at Burhanpur city of Madhya Pradesh in Central India during the birth of their 14th child, a daughter named Gauhara Begam. After the death of Mumtaz Mahal, her body was burried in Burhanpur, on the bank of Tapti river, for next 23 Years untill Taj Mahal was become ready. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. In 1607 AD, Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) fell in love with Arjumand Banu Begum, who was just 14 years old at the time. They finally get married after 5 years in 1612 AD. Before they were married, marriage date selected by the court astrologers as most conducive to ensuring a happy marriage. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives. Such new name was commonly used by the public. Following the same tradition, Arjumand Banu was name Mumtaz Mahal. Real name of Shah Jahan was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628. In his military expedition to Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur city of Madhya Pradesh, he defeated
Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing 20000 workers. It was completed in 1653 AD. Cost incurred in its construction was 32 Million Rupees. As per construction documents master architect was Ustad Ahmad Lahouri , the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.
The site of Taj was chosen on the banks of the Yamuna River which is on the southern edge of Agra city. Land was purchased from Raja Jai Singh in exchange for four mansions in the city. The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (55 x 55 mtr) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept. In this technique, each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. This technique uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements. Central focus of the Taj Mahal complex is the tomb. Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 40 meter each. The minarets are traditional elements of Mosque used by muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.
The complex of Taj Mahal is bounded on 3 sides by crenellated red sandstone walls. Fourth side is the river-facing side left open.The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, a mosque (to the left), an elaborate garden, a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The complex is set around a large 300-meter square Mughal garden or Charbagh. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor, Babur. It symbolizes the 4 flowing rivers of Jannat (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise gardenThe large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these 4 sections is further subdivided into 4 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.
In January 1632 AD Mumtaz's body was moved with great ceremony from Burhanpur (in Madhya Pradesh, Central India) )to Agra. Soon after the completion of Taj Mahal construction, Saha Jahan was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb and was put under house arrest in Agra Fort. Shah Jahan spent last 7 years of his life in house arrest at Agra Fort. He was put in a room from which he can see Taj Mahal. After death, he was burried in a mausoluem next to Mumtaz Mahal's.
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