The Taj Mahal is almost synonymous with all things romantic and beautiful. It is more than a beautiful structure in marble. It is almost haunting in its beauty. Located in Agra on the River Yamunna, its history is etched in love, betrayal, and blood shed. Though we get to hear only the romantic side of it the gory part is as intense. The Taj is best viewed on a moonlit night. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built it in the memory of his lady love Mumtaj Mahal who died during child birth. The serenity and purity of the structure will awe you. Moreover the geometric precision and compactness of the structure is a great engineering feat. But the most distinguishing feature of the Taj Mahal is its painting made from precious and semi precious stones on the inside of the Mahal.
Some interesting Taj Mahal Facts:
The exterior of the Taj Mahal features a style that is the combination of Persian, Islamic and Indian. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. The white domed marble mausoleum is its distinguishing feature. Thousands of laborers working for twenty years built the Taj Mahal. The main designers were Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. When Sha Jahan was describing the Taj he said even a sinner will be washed of sins if he sees this beautiful sight. He also said that such is the beauty of the sight that it is almost a sorrowful sight. Yes it is strange but true that there is a strange melancholy in this beautiful monument of love. It makes one thing.
The Tomb of the Mahal stands on a square plith and have a arch shaped doorway.It is designed in the Persian style. The main chamber of the Taj contains the false sarcophagi of Mumtaj Mahal. Archelogists says even the actual grave is here but at a lower level. A lotus design has been carved on the top. There are four kiosks or chattris placed at the four corner of the dome. The original filial was gold but has been now replaced by bronze. Te symmetry of the minarets will enthrall you. But more than that is the clever architecture. They were purposely set a little outside the plinth of the Mahal so that if there is any natural calamity they would fall out rather than fall inside the structure and destroy it. Stucco stone inlays and carvings of the Islamic form abounds the exterior. The decorative elements on the inside are calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs. Abstract form of art are used in the plinth, minarets and the mosque. The lower walls of the tomb have bas relief of flowers and vines. Yelow, red Green, and blue stones have been used while making the motifs. They are some of the most exquisite art that the world has ever witnessed.
Another interesting Taj Mahal Facts is that just opposite the Mahal is a twin of the Mahal. Popularly it was called Taj Mahal Naqqar Khana. Though it was built as a prayer house it was never used so. Some historians say that the main object of building this structure was to highlight the Taj Mahal and accentuate its beauty.
Historians have also raised the question that Taj Mahal originally was a temple site of Shiva. It was believed to have been called Tejo Mahalaya tejo meaning Shiva. Prof P.n Oak in his book- Taj Mahal: The True Story claims that Mumtaz Mahal was not also buried here. He was so sure of his findings that he wanted the court to grant him an order by which he could break open the cenotaphs, and to tear down brick walls to continue with his research. The court rejected his plea.
There are some question sthat historians, archeologists and critics have raised about the originality of the Taj as a Muslim burial chamber. Why is it that the mention of Taj Mahal never occurred in any Mughal chronicle during Aurangzeb’s reign. The Mughals who always glorify their art and architecture was sure to mention it in their records. So was it known by another name or was it not a Mughal structure at all?Mhal is never a muslim word. In none of the Muslim countries of the world would you find them using the word Mahal. Mahal is a Hindu term for a palace. Since the lady in question for whom the Taj was built named Mumtaz and not Mumtaj why is the Taj not spelled Mumtaz in keeping with her name. European and Indian scholars have signified that it was actually a temple of Shiva called Tej-o-Mahalaya hence the derivate of the term Taj from there. Also as you go inside the Mahal you have to remove your shoes. This is an ancient Hindu practice wherein you discard the shoe outside the temple gate. Had the origin of the Taj been a grave there wouldn’t have been any need to remove shoes as it is a necessity in a cemetery according to the Muslims.