This famous monument of love stands on the bank of the river Yamuna, in the
city Agra of north Indian state Uttar Pradesh.
Taj at a glance :
This magnificent monument of love was built by the great Mughal emperor
Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. Its construction
was started in 1632 and completed at the and of 1648. It was designed by
Ustad Ahmed Lahauri and was completed in 22 years by the hard labour of
20000 crafts men and at a cost of 32 million rupees. Its now famous as one
of the seven wonders of the world and listed as a world heritage monument by
Taj Mahal Architecture :
Built entirely on white marble, its a fusion of Mughal, Persian and Islamic
architecture style. The entire architectural complex mainly consists of
Darwaja or gateway, garden, Masjid or mosque, mausoleum. The actual tomb is
situated inside the Taj. With a hight of 213 feet, its central dome is 58
feet in diameter. It has four subsidiary domed chambers and four minarets
with 162.5 feet at each corner. There is an octagonal tower at the centre
with a central hall and four smaller halls grouped around it. Taj Mahal is a
two storied structure and its walls are decorated with exquisite inlaid
design of flowers and calligraphy using precious and semi-precious stones.
» Taj Gateway -
The main gate is built in red
sandstone and stands 30 mt high. The walls of the gate are inscribed with
verses from the Koran in Arabic. In the centre of the gateway, there is a
platform from where tourists can capture the Taj on film. Originally the
door of the gateway was made of solid silver and there were letters
inscribed on it.
» Taj Garden -
Taj gardens were designed by Ali
Mardan Khan, one of the nobles of Shah Jahan's court. These were laid out by
Persian garden plan style. The entire area of Taj complex is 580m by 300m
and out of which the gardens alone consists an area of 300m by 300m. The
fountains and running water channels are supplied with water from a set of
reservoirs which are atop the rooms in the garden walls.
» Taj Mausoleum -
From the garden the visitors
climb on to a huge red sandstone platform over a meter high. A double stair
case takes the visitors to a marble platform of about 95m square, which is
the only way to reach the tomb. Each side of the central structure or the
mausoleum is 56.6 m long with a large central arch. The main chamber
contains the duplicate tombs of Mumtaj and Shah Jahan which are surrounded
by decorated marble screens.
» Taj Mosque -
To the west of the Taj is a mosque
made of red sandstone and is used for Friday prayers. An identical mosque is
also built to the right of the Taj and is known as Jawab(answer). It was
built to maintain symmetry. This cannot be used for prayers as it faces away
from Mecca, the Islamic holy place.
» Taj Museum -
There is a museum situated left to
the central chamber and houses several portraits of Mughal emperors,
paintings, royal ornaments and two marble pillars which are believed to have
once been part of the Agra Fort. Also the galleries have several drawings
and plans of Taj. It is closed on Friday.
Mahatsoav or Taj Festival :
This 10 days long festival is held at Shilpgrama near Taj Mahal in the
month of February every year. This is the best place to experience the rich
art, craft and tradition of Agra. Dance, music, camel rides, exquisite
cuisine and various folk performances are its major attraction.
Taj Mahal Timings & Entry Fee :
Taj Mahal is closed on Friday for public except for those who go for
afternoon prayer. It will remain open from 6 am to 7 pm everyday except
Friday. For foreigners entry cost is Rs 750 and it is Rs 20 for Indians.