“The world is divided between two types of people– one those who have seen the Taj, and other who had not been there”. –Those were the words, how the then US President described the beauty of Taj Mahal, when he visited there. Recognised by the UNESCO, which included it into the list of World heritage Monuments, it is a mausoleum of a queen, built by an Indian emeror to show his esteem and love towards her.
The Story of Taj Mahal
Located near the south bank of River Yamuna, in Agra, India, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built in white marble, in between 1631 and 1648. The name Taj is dervived from the name of his popular wife Mumtaj Mahal, in whose memory it is dedicated to. Begum mumtaj Mahal, it is said died after giving birth to her 14th child Gauhara Begum.
Architecture of Taj Mahal
It is believed that the construction of Taj was made possible by a contigent of about 20 thousand workers, which was led by a team of noted architects of neighbouring country.Taj Mahal is a fine example of Mughal architecture in India. One noted feature of the mausoleum was the departure of red stones in the buildings, which was a symbol of Mughal architecture hitherto. The emperor went ahead with white ivory marble and extensively used semi-precious stones in its making. This departure in his buildings proved to be a milestone and points towards a refinement in architectural point of view.
The extensive use of calligraphy and huge domes are the other unique and bold features of the Taj. the calligraphy in the building of Taj is detailed, yet intricate. It mentions about some verses of Quran.
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The inlay works in the arch is also very fine. The flower, pierce and jaali inlays are so fine that perhaps few automated machines of modern days may not be able to do. The designing of Taj defied all traditional designing elements and it started a new era in the field.
The beauty of Taj is that it is equally proportionate if seen in the middle. All structures and corners of the buildings are symmetrical.
The Taj displays its various moods in different time and shades of the days. It looks different in different weathers and timings of the days, location, angle and perspectives. Some people says that sunrise and sunset add beauty to the beautiful monument while others argue every shade has a unique conotation
Gardens of Taj Mahal
The architecture of Taj Mahal also defies the set elements of gardens in Mughal architecture. Thus, the main complex of Taj is surrounded by a Mughal garden or Charbagh, as was popularly known. Raised pathways, divided into flowerbeds, avenues of trees and fountains were the focussing elements of the garden.
Since the elements of architecture and designs, used in the making of Taj Mahal were totally different from the practices of Mughal architecture, it is seen as a beginning of new era in Mughal architecture.
The entry gate of the Taj Mahal sets the tone of the gradiose nature of the mausoleum. While selecting it into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, UNESCO has justified Taj like this :
“Taj Mahal represents the finest architectural and artistic achievement through perfect harmony and excellent craftsmanship in a whole range of Indo-Islamic sepulchral architecture. It is a masterpiece of architectural style in conception, treatment and execution and has unique aesthetic qualities in balance, symmetry and harmonious blending of various elements.”
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