Taj Mahal in India ( Agra City) is the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE and one of the 7 wonders of the world.
There is no Other as beautiful Structure as Taj Mahal in the whole world. When some One just sees the Taj for the First Time, The natural Exclamation Comes - "AAH TAAJ" . It is located in Agra City, The city nestled on the banks of river Yamuna has numerous monuments and heritage buildings offering a sneak peek into its interesting culture. The city has been ruled by various rulers in the past and remnants of its glorious past are spread over length and breadth of the city.
The Taj is the most beautiful monument of the World built by Mughal Ruler Shajahan - The Muslim rulers of India.
Taj Mahal is not only India's Heritage, in fact Taj Mahal is world heritage, World's best Monument, More over it is synonymous with incredible India, It has become national identity of India like Eiffel Tower for France, Great Wall for China, Burh Khalifa for Dubai, Big Ben for London UK.
The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love. An Emperor in Year 1600 in India ( Shah Jahan) loves his wife veru much, Love is so intense that out of 100s of Wives and concubines of Emperor, only this wife ( Noor Jahan) bore him 14 childern, while giving borth to 14th child the wife dies and Emperor is shattered, he locks up himself in his room, He comes out after 12 days, in grief all his hair become gray & he decides to make an incredible monument dedicated to the love his beloved, Noor Jahan..
What can be more romantic than an Emperor building a monument in the memory of his dear wife? Today while visiting Taj Mahal, you get intensly connected with the love story, Not only that, Emprror is imprisoned by his son & he spends remaining days of his life just gazing at the beautiful marvel he had created.
Today Taj Mahal is so special that, it is the only monument in the whole world, which is dedicated to love ( Pure love between husband & Wife) and is undoubtedly is a Wonder of the World.
Taj is also known for a beautiful regular incident, which happenes only once a year, It is said that during the rainy season, a single drop of water falls on Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph. Rabindranath Tagore's has described this as "one solitary tear hanging on the cheek of time".
Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is a "Miracle in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu.
Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, 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 Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements.
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 162.5 feet each. 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 city of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India has a unique culture of its own. Centuries of Mughal rule and presence of various monuments and subsequent tourist influence have a direct bearing on the culture of the Agra city. Due to recurrent tourist influx the city has developed a culture of its own.
The city of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India has a unique culture of its own. Centuries of Mughal rule and presence of various monuments and subsequent tourist influence have a direct bearing on the culture of the Agra city.
The city that is home to one of the seven world wonders gives tourists a reason to feel proud. Due to recurrent tourist influx the city has developed a culture of its own. Thousands of tourists from India and around the world come to this city to have a glimpse of beautiful monuments of love and romance, Taj Mahal that acts as a inspiration to the numerous newly weds.
People of Agra are amiable and hospitable and believes in offering tourists and guests best of the services during their stay in the city that is truly at par with the Indian notion of 'Atithi Devo Bhav' meaning guest is god.
Brief Description in UNESCO about Taj Mahal
An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
"ou knew, Shah Jehan, life and youth, wealth and glory, they all drift away in the current of time. You strove, therefore, to perpetuate only the sorrow of your heart...Let the splendor of diamond, pearl, and ruby vanish like the magic shimmer of the rainbow. Only let this one tear-drop, this Tajmahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever.
O King, you are no more. Your empire has vanished like a dream, your throne lies shattered...your minstrels sing no more, your musicians no longer mingle their strains with the murmuring Jamuna...Despite all this, the courier of your love, untarnished by time, unwearied, unmoved by the rise and fall of empires, unconcerned with the ebb and flow of life and death, carries the ageless message of your love from age to age: ‘Never shall I forget you, beloved, never.’
- By Rabindranath Tagore ( Nobel Price Winner )
“The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.”
― Rabindranath Tagore ( Famous Quote)
"You know Shah Jahan, life and youth, wealth and glory, they all drift away in the current of time. You strove therefore, to perpetuate only the sorrow of your heart? Let the splendor of diamond, pearl and ruby vanish? Only let this one teardrop, this Taj Mahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever.''
'Bill Clinton once said, `There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have seen the Taj Mahal and love it and those who have not seen the Taj and love it. I would like people to watch my Taj Mahal and fall in love with it,'
• 'If I had never done anything else in India, I have written my name here, and the letters are a living joy.''
-Lord Curzon, the British Governor-General'
1. Taj Mahal was built in 22 years (1631-1653 AD) By Indian Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and it was dedicated to his wife Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bano Begum). 20.000 workers labored and 32 crore rupees were spent during the construction of the monument and it was built according to Islamic architecture.
2. The Taj Mahal, an immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. It no doubt partially owes its renown to the moving circumstances of its construction. Shah Jahan, in order to perpetuate the memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, had this funerary mosque built. The monument, begun in 1632, was finished in 1648; unverified but nonetheless, tenacious, legends attribute its construction to an international team of several thousands of masons, marble workers, mosaicists and decorators working under the orders of the architect of the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahori.
3. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mogul garden of some 17 ha, this funerary monument, bounded by four isolated minarets, reigns with its octagonal structure capped by a bulbous dome through the criss-cross of open perspectives offered by alleys or basins of water. The rigour of a perfect elevation of astonishing graphic purity is disguised and almost contradicted by the scintillation of a fairy-like decor where the white marble, the main building material, brings out and scintillates the floral arabesques, the decorative bands, and the calligraphic inscriptions which are incrusted in polychromatic pietra dura.
4. The materials for Taj Mahal were brought in from all over India and central Asia and white Makrana marble from Jodhpur. Precious stones for the inlay came from Baghdad, Punjab, Egypt, Russia, Golconda, China, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Indian Ocean and Persia. The unique Mughal style combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture.
5. The Darwaza, the majestic main gateway, is a large three-storey red sandstone structure, completed in 1648, with an octagonal central chamber with a vaulted roof and with smaller rooms on each side. The gateway consists of lofty central arch with two-storeyed wings on either side. The walls are inscribed with verses from the Qu'ran in Arabic in black calligraphy. The small domed pavilions on top are Hindu in style and signify royalty. The gate was originally lined with silver, now replaced with copper, and decorated with 1,000 nails whose heads were contemporary silver coins.
6. The Bageecha, the ornamental gardens through which the paths lead, are planned along classical Mughal char bagh style. Two marble canals studded with fountains, lined with cypress trees emanating from the central, raised pool cross in the centre of the garden, dividing it into four equal squares. In each square there are 16 flower beds, making a total of 64 with around 400 plants in each bed. The feature to be noted is that the garden is laid out in such a way as to maintain perfect symmetry. The channels, with a perfect reflection of the Taj, used to be stocked with colourful fish and the gardens with beautiful birds.
7. The Taj Mahal itself, situated in the north end of the garden, stands on two bases, one of sandstone and above it a square platform worked into a black and white chequerboard design and topped by a huge blue-veined white marble terrace, on each corner there are four minarets. On the east and west sides of the tomb are identical red sandstone buildings. On the west is the masjid (mosque), which sanctifies the area and provides a place of worship. On the other sides is the jawab, which cannot be used for prayer as it faces away from Mecca. The rauza, the central structure or the mausoleum on the platform, is square with bevelled corners. Each corner has small domes while in the centre is the main double dome topped by a brass finial. The main chamber inside is octagonal with a high domed ceiling. This chamber contains false tombs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan, laid to rest in precise duplicates in a. Both tombs are exquisitely inlaid and decorated with precious stones, the finest in Agra.
8. Taj Mahal means the’ Palace of the Crown’ because; Taj means “Crown” and Mahal means “palace”
9. The Taj Mahal is located in Agra which is approximately two hours from Delhi by train, so it can easily be arranged as a day trip from capital of India – New Delhi.
10. Taj Mahal won the latest seven wonders of the modern world in a recent poll in year 2013 with 100 million votes.
11. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
12. Taj Mahal is the part of India's Golden Triangle tour which covers Delhi Agra Jaipur.
13. The Taj Mahal attracts a large number of tourists. UNESCO documented more than 3.5 million visitors in 2013, including more than 500,000 from overseas. A two tier pricing system is in place, with a significantly lower entrance fee for Indian citizens and a more expensive one for foreigners. Most tourists visit in the cooler months of October, November and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the complex and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus.
14. The Taj Mahal is open from 06:00 to 19:00 weekdays, except for Friday when the complex is open for Juma prayers at the mosque between 12:00 and 14:00.
15. The complex is open for night viewing on the day of the full moon and two days before and after, excluding Fridays and the month of Ramadan.
16. For security reasons only five items—water in transparent bottles, small video cameras, still cameras, mobile phones and small ladies' purses—are allowed inside the Taj Mahal.
17. Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan ( Mughal Ruler of India) who was Grief-stricken at the death of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal (on the event of the birth of their 14th child), Shah Jehan wanted to build a world’s most beautiful mausoleum in her memory.
18. Construction of the Taj Mahal took 16 years, it was started in 1632 and was completed in 1648.
19. A labor force of twenty thousand workers was recruited across northern India. Sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from southern India, stonecutters from Baluchistan, a specialist in building turrets, another who carved only marble flowers were part of the thirty-seven men who formed the creative unit. More than 22,000 people worked day and night to build this impressive building including laborers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists, and many others. The total cost has been estimated to be about 32 million Rupees at that time.
20. The Taj Mahal's pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight, glows softly pink at dawn, and at close of day reflects the fiery tints of the setting Sun. From an octagonal tower in the Agra Fort across the River Yamuna, Shah Jahan spent his last days as a prisoner of his son and usurper to the empire, Aurangzeb, gazing at the tomb of his beloved Mumtaz.
21. It is said that Shah Jehan planned a duplicate mausoleum to be built in black marble across the Yamuna river. However he was overthrown and taken captive by his son Aurangzeb before it could be built. Ruins of black marble across the river in the Mahtab Bagh (the Moonlight Garden) support this legend. When Shah Jehan was imprisoned, the only thing that he could see from his prison cell was the Taj Mahal.
22. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri was the architect and principal designer of Taj Mahal, he amalgamated Turkish, Indian and Persian architectural styles.
23. The copy cats for the design of the Taj Mahal are Humayun's Tomb (in Delhi) , Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan's own Jama Masjid in Delhi.
24. Hindu craftsmen, particularly sculptors and stonecutters, were employed to build Taj Mahal. The carvings of Hindu rock-cut temples and the Man Singh palace in Gwalior also influenced the design of the Taj. The “chhatris” which can be seen on the Taj Mahal are a result of this Hindu-Muslim blend of architecture.
25. Taj Mahal is Built on the banks of the River Jamuna, the Jamuna river is an integral part of the grand design Taj Mahal – a fact that is evident from the design of the Mahtab Bagh or "Moonlight Garden" which is part of the complex.
26. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, twenty eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.
27. Emperor Shah Jahan had planned to construct another Taj Mahal in black marble on the other side of the river but the war with his sons interrupted his plans.
28. The four sides of the Taj Mahal are perfectly identical creating an astonishingly mirrored image on each side. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.
29. The Taj Mahal is surrounded by significant gardens and a number of other buildings including a mosque and guest houses which make up the 17 hectares of land within the complex walls.
30. The full height of the Taj Mahal is 171 metres (561 feet).
31. More than 1,000 elephants were employed to transport the construction materials used to build the Taj.
32. Many precious stones were ripped off from its walls by the British during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
33. The base structure is multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners, forming an unequal octagon that is approximately 55 metres (180 ft) on each of the four long sides. On each of these sides, a huge pishtaq, or vaulted archway, frames the iwan with two similarly shaped, arched balconies stacked on either side.
34. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, the actual graves are at a lower level.
35. The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is the most spectacular feature. Its height of around 35 metres (115 ft) is about the same as the length of the base, and is accentuated as it sits on a cylindrical "drum" which is roughly 7 metres (23 ft) high.
36. The minarets, which are each more than 40 metres (130 ft) tall, display the designer's penchant for symmetry. They were designed as working minarets—a traditional element of mosques, used by the muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a final balcony surmounted by a chattri that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial.
37. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that, in the event of collapse, (a typical occurrence with many tall constructions of the period) the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.
38. The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. As the surface area changes the decorations are refined proportionally. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs.
39. Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur'an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan.The texts refer to themes of judgment and include:
The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads "O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you."
40. The calligraphy was created by a calligrapher named Abd ul-Haq, in 1609. Shah Jahan conferred the title of "Amanat Khan" upon him as a reward for his "dazzling virtuosity".
41. Near the lines from the Qur'an at the base of the interior dome is the inscription, "Written by the insignificant being, Amanat Khan Shirazi."
42. Much of the calligraphy is composed of florid thuluth script, made of jasper or black marble,inlaid in white marble panels. Higher panels are written in slightly larger script to reduce the skewing effect when viewed from below. The calligraphy found on the marble cenotaphs in the tomb is particularly detailed and delicate.
43. Abstract forms are used throughout, especially in the plinth, minarets, gateway, mosque, jawab and, to a lesser extent, on the surfaces of the tomb. The domes and vaults of the sandstone buildings are worked with tracery of incised painting to create elaborate geometric forms. Herringbone inlays define the space between many of the adjoining elements. White inlays are used in sandstone buildings, and dark or black inlays on the white marbles. Mortared areas of the marble buildings have been stained or painted in a contrasting colour, creating geometric patterns of considerable complexity. Floors and walkways use contrasting tiles or blocks in tessellation patterns.
44. The interior chamber of the Taj Mahal steps far beyond traditional decorative elements. Here, the inlay work is not pietra dura, but a lapidary of precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.
45. The interior walls are about 25 metres (82 ft) high and are topped by a "false" interior dome decorated with a sun motif. Eight pishtaq arches define the space at ground level and, as with the exterior, each lower pishtaq is crowned by a second pishtaq about midway up the wall. The four central upper arches form balconies or viewing areas, and each balcony's exterior window has an intricate screen or jali cut from marble. In addition to the light from the balcony screens, light enters through roof openings covered by chattris at the corners. Each chamber wall has been highly decorated with dado bas-relief, intricate lapidary inlay and refined calligraphy panels, reflecting in miniature detail the design elements seen throughout the exterior of the complex.
46. The octagonal marble screen or jali which borders the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels which have been carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces have been inlaid in extremely delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers.
47. Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves. Hence, the bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan were put in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right and towards Mecca. Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph is placed at the precise centre of the inner chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5 by 2.5 metres (4 ft 11 in by 8 ft 2 in).
48. Both the base and casket are elaborately inlaid with precious and semiprecious gems. Calligraphic inscriptions on the casket identify and praise Mumtaz. On the lid of the casket is a raised rectangular lozenge meant to suggest a writing tablet.
49. Shah Jahan's cenotaph is beside Mumtaz's to the western side, and is the only visible asymmetric element in the entire complex. His cenotaph is bigger than his wife's, but reflects the same elements: a larger casket on a slightly taller base, again decorated with astonishing precision with lapidary and calligraphy that identifies him. On the lid of this casket is a traditional sculpture of a small pen box.
50. The pen box and writing tablet were traditional Mughal funerary icons decorating the caskets of men and women respectively. The Ninety Nine Names of God are found as calligraphic inscriptions on the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, in the crypt including "O Noble, O Magnificent, O Majestic, O Unique, O Eternal, O Glorious... ".
51. The tomb of Shah Jahan bears a calligraphic inscription that reads; "He travelled from this world to the banquet-hall of Eternity on the night of the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the year 1076 Hijri."
52. The complex is set around a large 300-metre (980 ft) square charbagh or Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar, in reference to the "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad.
53. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor, Babur. It symbolises the four flowing rivers of Jannah (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise garden derived from the Persian paridaeza, meaning 'walled garden'.
54..In mystic Islamic texts of Mughal period, Paradise is described as an ideal garden of abundance with four rivers flowing from a central spring or mountain, separating the garden into north, west, south and east.
55. Most Mughal charbaghs are rectangular with a tomb or pavilion in the center. The Taj Mahal garden is unusual in that the main element, the tomb, is located at the end of the garden. With the discovery of Mahtab Bagh or "Moonlight Garden" on the other side of the Yamuna, the interpretation of the Archaeological Survey of India is that the Yamuna river itself was incorporated into the garden's design and was meant to be seen as one of the rivers of Paradise.
56. The similarity in layout of the garden and its architectural features with the Shalimar Gardens suggest that they may have been designed by the same architect, Ali Mardan.
57..Early accounts of the garden describe its profusion of vegetation, including abundant roses, daffodils, and fruit trees.As the Mughal Empire declined, the tending of the garden also declined, and when the British took over the management of Taj Mahal during the time of the British Empire, they changed the landscaping to resemble that of lawns of London.
58. The Taj Mahal complex is bounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls, with the river-facing side left open. Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favourite servant. These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of the smaller Mughal tombs of the era. The garden-facing inner sides of the wall are fronted by columned arcades, a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques. The wall is interspersed with domed chattris, and small buildings that may have been viewing areas or watch towers like the Music House, which is now used as a museum.
59. The main gateway (darwaza) is a monumental structure built primarily of marble which is reminiscent of Mughal architecture of earlier emperors. Its archways mirror the shape of tomb's archways, and its pishtaq arches incorporate the calligraphy that decorates the tomb. It utilises bas-relief and pietra dura inlaid decorations with floral motifs. The vaulted ceilings and walls have elaborate geometric designs, like those found in the other sandstone buildings of the complex.
60. At the far end of the complex, there are two grand red sandstone buildings that are open to the sides of the tomb. Their backs parallel the western and eastern walls, and the two buildings are precise mirror images of each other. The western building is a mosque and the other is the jawab (answer), whose primary purpose was architectural balance, although it may have been used as a guesthouse. The distinctions between these two buildings include the lack of mihrab (a niche in a mosque's wall facing Mecca) in the jawab and that the floors of jawab have a geometric design, while the mosque floor was laid with outlines of 569 prayer rugs in black marble. The mosque's basic design of a long hall surmounted by three domes is similar to others built by Shah Jahan.
61. The Taj Mahal was built on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. Shah Jahan presented Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land. An area of roughly three acres was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage, and levelled at 50 metres (160 ft) above riverbank.
62. In the tomb area, wells were dug and filled with stone and rubble to form the footings of the tomb. Instead of lashed bamboo, workmen constructed a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the tomb. The scaffold was so enormous that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle.
63. According to the legend, Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight. A fifteen kilometre (9.3 mi) tamped-earth ramp was built to transport marble and materials to the construction site and teams of twenty or thirty oxen pulled the blocks on specially constructed wagons. An elaborate post-and-beam pulley system was used to raise the blocks into desired position. Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism, into a large storage tank and raised to a large distribution tank. It was passed into three subsidiary tanks, from which it was piped to the complex.
64. The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to complete. The remaining parts of the complex took an additional 10 years and were completed in order of minarets, mosque and jawab, and gateway. Since the complex was built in stages, discrepancies exist in completion dates due to differing opinions on "completion". For example, the mausoleum itself was essentially complete by 1643, but work continued on the rest of the complex. Estimates of the cost of construction vary due to difficulties in estimating costs across time.
65. By the late 19th century, parts of the buildings had fallen badly into disrepair. During the time of the Indian rebellion of 1857, the Taj Mahal was defaced by British soldiers and government officials, who chiselled out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls.
66. At the end of the 19th century, British viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908.He also commissioned the large lamp in the interior chamber, modelled after one in a Cairo mosque. During this time the garden was remodelled with British-style lawns that are still in place today.
67. In 1942, the government erected a scaffolding in anticipation of an air attack by German Luftwaffe and later by Japanese Air Force.During the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, scaffoldings were again erected to mislead bomber pilots.
68. More recent threats have come from environmental pollution on the banks of Yamuna River including acid rain due to the Mathura Oil Refinery,which was opposed by Supreme Court of India directives.The pollution has been turning the Taj Mahal yellow. To help control the pollution, the Indian government has set up the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), a 10,400-square-kilometre (4,000 sq mi) area around the monument where strict emissions standards are in place.
69. Concerns for the tomb's structural integrity have recently been raised because of a decline in the groundwater level in the Yamuna river basin which is falling at a rate of around 5 feet a year. In 2010, cracks appeared in parts of the tomb, and the minarets which surround the monument were showing signs of tilting, as the wooden foundation ofthe tomb may be rotting due to lack of water. Some predictions indicate that the tomb may collapse within 5 years.
70. The small town to the south of the Taj, known as Taj Ganji or Mumtazabad, was originally constructed with caravanserais, bazaars and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen.
71. A longstanding myth about Black Taj Mahal across the Yamuna river was broken with a theory for the origins of the black mausoleum was demonstrated in 2006 by archaeologists who reconstructed part of the pool in the Moonlight Garden. A dark reflection of the white mausoleum could clearly be seen, befitting Shah Jahan's obsession with symmetry and the positioning of the pool itself.
72 No evidence exists for claims that describe, often in horrific detail, the deaths, dismemberments and mutilations which Shah Jahan supposedly inflicted on various architects and craftsmen associated with the tomb. Some stories claim that those involved in construction signed contracts committing themselves to have no part in any similar design. Similar claims are made for many famous buildings.
73 According to one of the myths, the construction is sinking and it is known that in spite of all the precautions, cracks were discovered in it just 4 years after its completion and that it was tilting towards the riverside.
74. According to another myth a number of items such as diamonds, a gold leaf which covered the part of the dome, a pearl blanket etc that were originally a part of the Taj were stolen.
75. It is also told that Shah Jahan got the hands of his sculptors and architects cut off so that they would never be able to build a monument as magnificent and beautiful as the Taj again and he even got their eyes pulled out so that they would never be able to witness anything bigger and more beautiful than the monument that they had built during their lifetime. ( This Myth is not verified)
76. The outer dome surrounded by four chhatris on the corners dominates the roof terrace. The dome with the shape of hanging flower is topped by a crescent. The stairs on the eastern side reach to the interior dome without light. The dome is above the tomb chamber while the four chhatris are above the octagonal corner rooms.
77. The chhatris with multi-cusped arches stands on an octagonal platform of red sandstone.
78. The terrace, with the magnificent view of the garden to the banks through the Agra Fort, is however not open to the visitors, only the ground floor is accessible as the general regulation of the site.
79. The section is not open to the visitors. The rectangular room is simpler than the above. The graves are similar to the upper cenotaphs but decorated with different motifs. The platform of the lower cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal is almost without any decoration. The upper surface is decorated with the inscriptions of Qur’an and the sides of the cenotaph are covered with the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of Allah inside cartouches. The epigraph at the foot end is the same with the upper cenotaph’s.
80. The same decoration elements such as poppies, lily-like blossoms are also used on the lower cenotaph of Shah Jahan and similar to the decoration of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb. Again, there is no formal inscription of Qur’an but a more comprehensive and enlarged epitaph which reads;
81. “This is the illuminated grave and sacred resting place of the emperor, dignified as Rizwan, residing in Eternity, His Majesty, having his abode in Illiyun, Dweller in Paradise, the Second Sahib’l Quiran, Shah Jahan, Padshah Ghazi; may it be sanctified and may Paradise become his abode. He travelled from this world to the banquet hall of eternity on the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the year 1066 Hijri”.
82. Shah Jahan, suffering deeply by his wife’s death, directed his concern into his beloved and privileged daughter Janahara. His excessive emotions towards his daughter might be a creation of his love to Mumtaz with the most resembling person and was interpreted as an incest relationship by some historians but never approved by the Mogul official documents.
83. Shahjahanabad, was Shah Jahan’s enormous project of a metropolis in Delhi. The constructions of the new fortress-city started in 1639 with the massive citadel namely the Red Fort which is the twice size of the one in Agra with its eleven gates and twenty seven towers. The lovable city in its excellent condition was honoured by presence of Shah Jahan on 18 April 1648 on his famous eye-catching Peacock Throne. The architectural investments of Shah Jahan continued with the construction of Jami Masjid in Shahjahanabad as the biggest mosque of the Empire, even the economy was worsening with the imbalance of the enormous spending and insufficient incomes. Shah Jahan left the military and administrative matters to his four grown sons; Dara Shukoh, Aurangzeb, Shah Shuja and Murad Baksh. Augranzeb was just like his ancestors had a bad relationship with his father as an unloved boy. Disappointed by his son Murad’s rejection, Shah Jahan positioned Augrenzeb in mid 1647 to capture the home of Timur, Samarkand from the Uzbeks. Unfortunately the Persians taking the advantage of Samarkand campaign, held the control of Kandahar. Even the long attempts of Augrenzeb in order to recapture the city until 1652 were not enough and caused Shah Jahan’s lack of trust towards Augrenzeb and he entrusted this time to his seventy thousand soldiers under the head of Dara Shukoh in 1653 but could not help to end the fail. The campaigns cost approximately half of the annual budget but were not important as the loss of power and prestige of the Empire.
84. Shah Jahan honoured his oldest son Dara Shukoh to be seated next to his throne, therefore, pointing the heir to himself. He sent Augrenzeb as the governor of Deccan where his aggressive son could attack to Golconda and Bijapur in 1656 –the sultans in suzerainty of Mogul since 1636 in order to gain funds for his region but hardly stopped by his father.
85. Shah Jahan was in fact with full confidence of his children’s unity. Unlikely to his ancestors his children were from the same mother and, therefore, creating a real family string. However, the brothers were polarised with the illness of Shah Jahan in September 1657. The distasteful events were accelerated with the lack of Mumtaz who could possibly mediate between the children. Janahara was not administrating adequately like a real mother. The absence of Shah Jahan was interpreted as if he died by the public which also encouraged the brothers as candidates to the heir. Even Shah Jahan showed himself from his bedroom’s window and insisted his eldest son, Dara as the heir, the three younger sons declared themselves as the emperors of their regions leaded first by Shah Shuja. Dara thought that the real threat was Augranzeb who also dealt with his other brother, Murad Bakhsh in order to divide the empire as one third to Murad including Afganistan, Kashmir, Sind and Punjab and the remaining two third to Augranzeb. The scenario also reveals also the three brothers’ dislike to Dara, Shah Jahan’s beloved.
86. Dara sent the army headed by his son Suleiman Shukoh in February 1658 resulted with the capture of his uncle Shah Shuja. Awfully disappointed Shah Jahan ordered the release of Shah Shuja to find a peaceful solution between the brothers. The three princes were all emphasizing their loyalty to Shah Jahan and the reason for their alerted armies was only because of Dara’s hostile manner. The long conciliatory conversations were inadequate. Dara convinced his father for a battle with Augranzeb supported by Murad as the only way to stop the threat to the heir. The two forces met on the Plain of Samugarh on May 29th, 1658 and the fierce battle resulted with the victory of Augranzeb.
87. The two brothers reached Agra on June 1st .Shah Jahan’s peaceful invitation to the fort was rejected by Augranzeb instead answered by the surrender request which was not welcomed by his father. Consequently, Augranzeb cut off the fort’s water of Jumna and the fort was forced to open the gates only after three days. Shah Jahan and Janahara were imprisoned in the Harem while Raushanara was the only woman who was allowed to leave. After the allied Murad was caught with intrigue and imprisoned on an island in the Jumna River near Delhi, Augranzeb announced himself emperor on a modest ceremony on July 21, 1658 outside Delhi. He had yet two brothers as threat: Dara was in Sind on southwest and Shah Shuja was on the east. Dara was the first discouraged by Augranzeb who changed the sides of Dara’s supporters with bribery. Augranzeb met with Shah Shuja in September 1658 between Benares and Agra. Mir Jumla, the ally of Augranzeb followed Shah Shuja down the Ganges almost fifteen months. Shah Shuja and his family vanished on the lands of the dangerously located pirate king of Arakan, east of Bengal which could be resulted with their death or murder. In the meanwhile Dara gathered his army and confronted with Augranzeb on March 11, 1659 in Ajmer three hundred km west of Agra. The victory of Augrenzeb made Dara and his family escape once more. After crossing the deserts of the Rann of Kutch in Sind exhausted Dara lost his favourite wife Nadira Begum from dysentery. The only shelter he could find was of an Afghan chieftain. The chieftain captured Dara and his family unexpectedly and delivered them to Delhi in August 23, 1659. Augranzeb was, in fact, determined to murder Dara. However, he could not decide only by himself and he had to be approved by the council. The logical reason of the execution could be Dara’s tendency to Hinduism or even atheism and this was not acceptable in such an Islamic Empire. The council supported and therefore, Dara was not a threat to the throne anymore. With the order of Augranzeb, Murad who was still in prison judged according to Islamic laws and because he had once murdered his finance minister, the family of the minister demanded life to life. He was also executed in December 4, 1661. Dara’s son Suleiman Shukoh and his own young sons were also murdered with intrigue. He only left Dara’s young son Sipihr Shukoh alive as prisoner, who could then marry with Augrenzeb’s daughter. Augranzeb stopped not only his relatives but also his son Mohammed Sultan by imprisoning him as because he was once joined his forces with Shah Shuja’s.
88. With the merciless execution of his two sons and vanishing of the other was intolerable grief for Shah Jahan. Although he was a rebellious son, even he had not predicted such hatred between full brothers. The dream of the tranquil plans of late years was unfortunately full with sorrow spending his time in his prison at Agra Fort overlooking Taj Mahal with his devoted Jahahara. He was exchanging letters with Augrenzeb which were fully accusation and defence of themselves. Shah Jahan fell ill with strangury and dysentery at the age of seventy three. The curing attempts were not answered and he was died on January 22, 1666. An imposing funeral ceremony of course could not be expected from Augrenzeb. He was buried quietly next to the cenotaph of Mumtaz in Taj Mahal.
89. Taj Mahal - Greatest Architectural Achievement - The Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. Its recognised architectonic beauty has a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and convex and light shadow; such as arches and domes further increases the aesthetic aspect. The colour combination of lush green scape reddish pathway and blue sky over it show cases the monument in ever changing tints and moods. The relief work in marble and inlay with precious and semi precious stones make it a monument apart.
90. Taj Mahal - Genius In Planning – The Perfect symmetrical planned building - The uniqueness of Taj Mahal lies in some truly remarkable innovations by planners and architects. One such genius planning is the placing of tomb at one end of the quadripartite garden rather than in the exact centre, which added rich depth and perspective to the distant view of the monument.
91. TajMahal is also, one of the best examples of raised tomb variety. The tomb is further raised on a square platform with the four sides of the octagonal base of the minarets extended beyond the square at the corners. The top of the platform is reached through a lateral flight of steps provided in the centre of the southern side.
92. The ground plan of the Taj Mahal is in perfect balance of composition, the octagonal tomb chamber in the centre, encompassed by the portal halls and the four corner rooms. The plan is repeated on the upper floor. The exterior of the tomb is square in plan, with chamfered corners.
93. The large double storied domed chamber, which houses the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, is a perfect octagon in plan. The exquisite octagonal marble lattice screen encircling both cenotaphs is a piece of superb workmanship. It is highly polished and richly decorated with inlay work. The borders of the frames are inlaid with precious stones representing flowers executed with wonderful perfection.
94. The hues and the shades of the stones used to make the leaves and the flowers appear almost real. The cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal is in perfect centre of the tomb chamber, placed on a rectangular platform decorated with inlaid flower plant motifs. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is greater than Mumtaz Mahal and installed more than thirty years later by the side of the latter on its west. The upper cenotaphs are only illusory and the real graves are in the lower tomb chamber (crypt), a practice adopted in the imperial Mughal tombs.
95. The four free-standing minarets at the corners of the platform added a hitherto unknown dimension to the Mughal architecture. The four minarets provide not only a kind of spatial reference to the monument but also give a three dimensional effect to the edifice.
96. The most impressive in the Taj Mahal complex next to the tomb, is the main gate which stands majestically in the centre of the southern wall of the forecourt. The gate is flanked on the north front by double arcade galleries. The garden in front of the galleries is subdivided into four quarters by two main walk-ways and each quarters in turn subdivided by the narrower cross-axial walkways, on the Timurid-Persian scheme of the walled in garden. The enclosure walls on the east and west have a pavilion at the centre.
97. The Taj Mahal is a perfect symmetrical planned building, with an emphasis of bilateral symmetry along a central axis on which the main features are placed. The building material used is brick-in-lime mortar veneered with red sandstone and marble and inlay work of precious/semi precious stones. The mosque and the guest house in the Taj Mahal complex are built of red sandstone in contrast to the marble tomb in the centre. Both the buildings have a large platform over the terrace at their front. Both the mosque and the guest house are the identical structures. They have an oblong massive prayer hall consist of three vaulted bays arranged in a row with central dominant portal. The frame of the portal arches and the spandrels are veneered in white marble. The spandrels are filled with flowery arabesques of stone intarsia and the arches bordered with rope molding.
98. Protection and management requirements - The management of Taj Mahal complex is carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India and the legal protection of the monument and the control over the regulated area around the monument is through the various legislative and regulatory frameworks that have been established, including the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 and Rules 1959 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation); which is adequate to the overall administration of the property and buffer areas. Additional supplementary laws ensure the protection of the property in terms of development in the surroundings.
99. An area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal is defined to protect the monument from pollution. The Supreme Court of India in December, 1996, delivered a ruling banning use of coal/coke in industries located in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and switching over to natural gas or relocating them outside the TTZ. The TTZ comprises of 40 protected monuments including three World Heritage Sites - Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
100. The fund provided by the federal government is adequate for the buffer areas. The fund provided by the federal government is adequate for the overall conservation, preservation and maintenance of the complex to supervise activities at the site under the guidance of the Superintending Archaeologist of the Agra Circle. The implementation of an Integrated Management plan is necessary to ensure that the property maintains the existing conditions, particularly in the light of significant pressures derived from visitation that will need to be adequately managed. The Management plan should also prescribe adequate guidelines for proposed infrastructure development and establish a comprehensive Public Use plan.