The title of my article reveals to you the glory of the epitome of love standing proudly on the banks of River Yamuna in the Indian region of Agra. The most stunning fact of Taj Mahal is that it was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved consort, Mumtaz Mahal. It is actually a white domed mausoleum around which there are many more edifices and layouts forming together as the Taj complex.
There is a mosque on one side, while the Naqqar Khana is on the other. A faded tomb holds the grave of Shah Jahan and his wife. Do not be misleaded by the false tombs that are just over the real crypts in the chamber, which are actually of other Mughals. Designated as the UNSECO World Heritage Site, its architecture is regarded as the finest art work in India found no where else.
Thousands of artisans and craftsmen built this huge, but most attractive monument in India from 1632 to 1653.
After the death of the emperor, his son buried him besides his wife in Taj itself, which are seen even today.
The British ransacked the edifice during the national uprising of 1857 taking away the precious stones and lapis lazuli of the walls.
In the 19th century, the British viceroy Lord Curzon planned to rejuvenate the monument and also kept a large lamp in the inner chamber, which is similar to the lamp of the Cairo mosque.
The architectural fact of the Taj is that is the fusion of Persian, Indian, and Islamic styles using white marble only. Erected on an elevated oblong base, the Taj Mahal is adorned with the enclosing four minarets with an arch doorway capped by the dome. Another fact of Taj Mahal is that these four cornered minarets were intentionally made small so that the eyes first fall on the spherical dome whether standing nearby or at a distance.
The Gateway (Darwaza)
Built at the end of the long water pool and adorned with Hindu motifs, the entrance door is a high even gateway arched from the top. You can see it tangled in leaves, flowers – note red lotuses (symbol of Lord Brahma) made in semi-precious stones. The gate also holds Arabic calligraphy of the Quran verses.
The Charbagh Gardens
Starting from the gate until the foot of the Taj Mahal, the Persian styled gardens are full of flowers, fruits, leaves, and birds. These gardens show symmetric arrangements that actually led to no special effort being involved for it to look natural.
The fact behind the construction of these gardens is that the layout was designed as per the most sacred number in Islam – 4 and its multiples. This is evident from its two marble canals with fountains and stoned walkways dividing into 16 flowerbeds in the quarters. Other signs of religious significance are the Cyprus trees symbolizing death and fruit bearing trees indicating life. Do view the reflected structure in the marble tank located in gardens’ center.
Built from red sandstone, this mosque is of utmost importance because it faces the sacred city of Mecca. The exterior is adorned with pietra dura, while the interior is layered with over 500 carpets on the floor and calligraphy stating the name Allah and religious quotations. The mosque contains four octagonal towers and three magnificent domes.
Adorned by flower patterns and marble items, the Red House is made up of red sandstone whose purpose is not yet known. Also known as the Jawab (Answer), it resembles the Taj Mahal mosque, but no prayers have taken place inside until today.
The Taj Mahotsav
This festival is worth attending held in February for 10 days organized to publicize arts, handicrafts, dance, music, and food of Uttar Pradesh at Shilpgram at just a stone’s throw from the Taj. With an aim to regain the lost culture since the Mughal era, a procession of decorated elephants and camels, artists, artisans, and drum players is carried out, which is simply awesome. Among the crafts, woodcarvings, brass ware, handmade carpets, blue pottery, chikan work, and silk work are available that are really attractive.
Do not miss the Food Festival wherein you can taste some ancient and typical dishes of Uttar Pradesh.
Days of Attraction
October to March with Fridays being closed.