The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It is built in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is recognized as the jewel of Muslim art in Agra, India. It is one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” It is also regarded as “the best example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. In 2007, it was voted by BBC’s worldwide readers as one of the world’s top ten buildings of the millennium.
How to Reach Taj Mahal:
Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Here are some ways to reach Taj Mahal:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Agra is the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, which is about 230 kilometers away. From there, you can take a taxi or hire a car to reach Agra. The journey takes around 3-4 hours.
- By Train: Agra is well-connected to the rest of the country by train. The city has four major railway stations, including the Agra Cantonment Railway Station, which is the most convenient option. Many express and local trains connect Agra to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
- By Road: Agra is well-connected by road to major cities in North India. National Highway 19 connects Agra to Delhi, which is around 233 kilometers away. A number of buses, both private and government-run, are available for travel to Agra.
- By Car/Taxi: You can hire a car or taxi to reach Agra from nearby cities like Delhi, Jaipur, and Gwalior. It is a convenient option as you can stop at various points of interest along the way.
Once you reach Agra, you can hire a taxi or take an auto-rickshaw to reach Taj Mahal, which is located in the heart of the city. It is advisable to reach early in the morning to avoid the rush and the heat.
Construction of The Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 and took 22 years to complete, with an estimated 20,000 workers involved in the construction process.
The monument was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, a Persian architect who worked for the Mughal court. The construction of the Taj Mahal was a massive undertaking, and the finest craftsmen and artists from across the Mughal Empire were brought in to work on the project.
The main material used in the construction of the Taj Mahal is white marble, which was quarried from Makrana in Rajasthan. The marble was transported to Agra by a fleet of elephants, and the construction process began with the laying of the foundation and the building of the plinth.
The construction of the Taj Mahal involved a number of different techniques, including carving, inlay work, and calligraphy. The intricate marble carvings on the walls and domes of the monument are particularly noteworthy, and include intricate floral patterns, arabesques, and verses from the Quran.
The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653 at a cost of around 32 million rupees, which would be equivalent to around 70 billion rupees in today’s currency. The monument remains one of the most iconic and beautiful examples of Mughal architecture, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Architecture of Taj Mahal:
The architecture of the Taj Mahal is a blend of Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles, and is considered to be a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. The monument is made of white marble and is adorned with intricate carvings and inlaid with precious stones.
The Taj Mahal complex is divided into four main parts: the main gateway, the gardens, the mosque, and the mausoleum.
- The main gateway is a grand structure made of red sandstone and serves as the entrance to the Taj Mahal complex. It features beautiful arches, calligraphy, and intricate geometric patterns.
- The gardens of the Taj Mahal are known as the Charbagh and are laid out in a typical Mughal garden style. The garden is divided into four quadrants by water channels, and features fountains and flowerbeds.
- The mosque of the Taj Mahal is located on the western side of the complex and is made of red sandstone. It is a functioning mosque and is still used for daily prayers.
- The mausoleum itself is the centerpiece of the Taj Mahal complex and is made of white marble. It is surrounded by four minarets, each standing at a height of 40 meters. The dome of the mausoleum is made of white marble and is adorned with intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns. Inside the mausoleum are the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
The architecture of the Taj Mahal is renowned for its intricate marble work, exquisite craftsmanship, and symmetrical design. The use of white marble, intricate carvings, and calligraphy make the Taj Mahal one of the most beautiful and iconic examples of Mughal architecture.
The Tombs Inside The Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. The monument contains two main tombs, those of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan himself.
Mumtaz Mahal‘s tomb is located in the center of the mausoleum, directly beneath the central dome. It is made of white marble and is adorned with precious stones and intricate carvings. The tomb is surrounded by an intricate marble screen that is adorned with delicate floral patterns.
Shah Jahan‘s tomb is located beside that of Mumtaz Mahal, and is slightly larger in size. The tomb is also made of white marble and is similarly decorated with precious stones and carvings. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is inscribed with verses from the Quran and is surrounded by a delicate marble screen.
It is important to note that the actual tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are located in a crypt below the main chamber, which is not accessible to visitors. The tombs that are visible in the main chamber are cenotaphs, or empty tombs, that were built for decorative purposes.
The intricate marble carvings and precious stone inlays that adorn the tombs and the surrounding walls of the mausoleum are considered to be some of the finest examples of Mughal architecture and art. The tombs inside the Taj Mahal are a testament to the love and devotion that Shah Jahan had for his wife, and are a reminder of the beauty and magnificence of Mughal architecture.
Valdalism Of Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal, like many other historical monuments, has unfortunately been subject to acts of vandalism over the years. Here are some notable incidents:
- Graffiti: In 2017, a group of tourists from Bangladesh were caught carving their names onto the walls of the monument. They were arrested and charged with vandalism.
- Damage to marble: In 2018, a group of tourists was caught chipping off pieces of marble from the Taj Mahal. The monument’s marble is fragile and can be easily damaged, so such actions can have a lasting impact.
- Pollution: As mentioned earlier, pollution in the surrounding area is causing damage to the marble and intricate carvings of the Taj Mahal. This is not intentional vandalism, but rather a result of environmental factors.
Efforts are being made to prevent further acts of vandalism at the Taj Mahal. Security has been increased, and visitors are being monitored more closely to ensure they do not cause damage to the monument. Additionally, there have been calls for more education and awareness about the importance of preserving historical monuments, so that people understand the significance of these treasures and treat them with respect.
UNESCO describes the Taj Mahal as a “masterpiece of human creative genius”
Yes, UNESCO has described the Taj Mahal as a “masterpiece of human creative genius” and recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1983. The Taj Mahal is considered to be one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture and is renowned for its intricate marble work, exquisite craftsmanship, and symmetrical design. The monument is a symbol of love and devotion and has become an iconic tourist attraction in India, attracting millions of visitors from around the world every year. Its recognition by UNESCO highlights its importance as a cultural and historical treasure that needs to be preserved for future generations.
The Taj Mahal – Symbol of love:
The Taj Mahal is often referred to as the symbol of love because it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away in 1631. It is said that Shah Jahan was devastated by her death and was determined to build a monument in her honor that would be a symbol of his love and devotion to her.
The Taj Mahal was built over a period of 22 years and was completed in 1653. It is made of white marble and is adorned with intricate carvings and precious stones. The monument is set in a beautiful garden with reflecting pools that create a breathtaking reflection of the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is not only a beautiful architectural masterpiece but also a symbol of enduring love and devotion. It attracts millions of visitors from around the world who come to admire its beauty and to pay homage to the love story that inspired its creation.
Current issues related to The Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal, like many historical monuments, faces a number of current issues, including:
- Pollution: Agra, the city where the Taj Mahal is located, is one of the most polluted cities in India, and this pollution is taking a toll on the monument. The pollution is causing discoloration of the marble and damage to the intricate carvings.
- Overcrowding: The Taj Mahal attracts a large number of visitors every year, and this has led to issues of overcrowding. The crowds can cause damage to the monument and create safety hazards.
- Vandalism and littering: Despite efforts to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the monument, some visitors litter and vandalize the area, causing damage to the gardens and the structures.
- Damage due to tourism: The high number of visitors has led to wear and tear on the monument, and the use of flash photography and touching of the walls and carvings can cause damage over time.
Efforts are being made by the government and other organizations to address these issues. For example, measures are being taken to reduce pollution in the area, limit the number of visitors, and increase security to prevent vandalism and littering. Additionally, the Archaeological Survey of India, which is responsible for maintaining the monument, is taking steps to restore and preserve the Taj Mahal for future generations.
The Taj Mahal is indeed an iconic structure, it is an epitome of love and creation in the true sense of the word. However, the Taj Mahal is the second-best UNESCO World Heritage Site, not the second-best cultural site in the world.
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