The Taj Mahal, an iconic symbol of love and architectural marvel, has a rich and fascinating history. Here is an overview of the history of the Taj Mahal :
1. Commissioning by Shah Jahan:
The Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth in 1631, and Shah Jahan was grief-stricken. In her memory, he vowed to build the most beautiful mausoleum ever seen.
2. Construction Period:
Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, and it took approximately 22 years to complete. The project employed thousands of artisans, craftsmen, and laborers from across the Mughal Empire and beyond.
3. Architectural Team:
The chief architect of the Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahori, an accomplished architect of the Mughal era. Other notable contributors included Ismail Afandi, a renowned Ottoman architect, and Qazim Khan, who oversaw the project’s finances.
4. Construction Materials:
The materials for the Taj Mahal were sourced from various regions. The white marble was brought from Makrana in Rajasthan, semi-precious stones were imported from different parts of India and Central Asia, and the red sandstone came from Fatehpur Sikri.
5. Symbolism in Design:
The Taj Mahal is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, blending Persian, Islamic, and Indian influences. The symmetrical layout, intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns, and the use of reflective pools contribute to its aesthetic beauty and symbolic significance.
6. Mumtaz Mahal’s Cenotaph:
The central focus of the Taj Mahal is the white marble cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, placed in the main chamber. Shah Jahan’s cenotaph was intended to be placed beside hers, but he was eventually buried next to her after his death.
7. Completion and Later History:
The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653, and Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life under house arrest by his son Aurangzeb. He could view the Taj Mahal from his confinement in Agra Fort. After Shah Jahan’s death in 1666, he was buried alongside Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal.
8. Preservation Efforts:
Over the centuries, the Taj Mahal faced various threats, including natural disasters and environmental pollution. In the 20th century, preservation efforts intensified, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken measures to protect and maintain the monument.
9. UNESCO World Heritage Site:
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, recognizing its outstanding cultural significance. It attracts millions of visitors from around the world who come to witness its architectural grandeur and to be part of the enduring love story that inspired its creation.
The Taj Mahal stands as a timeless testament to the enduring power of love and the incredible architectural and artistic achievements of the Mughal Empire. It remains one of the most celebrated and visited landmarks in the world.
Heritage walk –
A detailed heritage walk to the Taj Mahal is a truly immersive experience, taking you through the intricate details of this architectural masterpiece and providing a deeper understanding of its historical, cultural, and symbolic significance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a comprehensive heritage walk.
South Gate Entrance:
Begin your journey at the South Gate, the main entrance to the Taj Mahal complex. Admire the imposing red sandstone gate adorned with intricate geometric and floral patterns. As you pass through, catch your first tantalizing glimpse of the Taj Mahal framed by the archways.
Walk along the central pathway through the Charbagh, the Persian-style garden divided into four quadrants by water channels. Notice the meticulous alignment and symmetry, a hallmark of Mughal garden design.
Reach the end of the garden to find the reflecting pool, symbolizing the Yamuna River. Marvel at the perfect reflection of the Taj Mahal in the still waters, creating a magical and surreal ambiance.
Ascend the marble platform on which the main structure stands. Examine the detailed carvings and inscriptions, including verses from the Quran, highlighting the craftsmanship and the deep spiritual significance of the Taj Mahal.
Approach the central dome, the focal point of the Taj Mahal. Admire the intricate marble inlays, known as “pietra dura,” depicting floral motifs and calligraphy. Learn about the four minarets surrounding the main dome and their architectural purpose.
Inside the Mausoleum:
Enter the mausoleum through the main portal and experience the cool, dimly lit interior. Marvel at the cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal and the exquisite lattice work that filters the natural light. Understand the symbolism behind the placement of the graves and the spiritual significance of the space.
Mosque and Jawab:
Explore the mosque on the western side and the jawab (mirror-image building) on the eastern side. Understand their architectural significance and how they contribute to the overall symmetry of the complex.
Walk to the northern side of the Taj Mahal to enjoy a view of the Yamuna River. Admire the architectural details from this perspective and understand the strategic placement of the monument.
Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden):
Optionally, visit Mehtab Bagh across the river for a panoramic view of the Taj Mahal during sunset. This garden offers a serene and less crowded vantage point to appreciate the beauty of the monument.
Reflect and Contemplate:
Conclude your heritage walk by finding a quiet spot in the gardens to reflect on the history, symbolism, and the enduring beauty of the Taj Mahal. Consider the love story that inspired its creation and the architectural legacy it represents.
A detailed heritage walk to the Taj Mahal not only unveils the physical beauty of the monument but also allows for a profound connection with its historical and cultural significance.
Unique facts about Monument –
The Taj Mahal is not only an iconic symbol of love and a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also harbors several unique and intriguing facts that add to its mystique. Here are some lesser-known and fascinating details about the Taj Mahal.
The color of the Taj Mahal appears to change throughout the day. It takes on a warm pink hue in the morning, a gleaming white during the day, and a soft golden glow in the moonlight, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle.
Marble that Breathes:
The marble used in the construction of the Taj Mahal is believed to have a unique property known as “Makrana marble.” This type of marble is said to breathe and undergo slight expansion and contraction with variations in temperature, preventing the building from developing cracks.
The Taj Mahal is perfectly symmetrical in every aspect, including the placement of the main structure, minarets, and the garden. This precision is a testament to the extraordinary architectural and engineering skills of the Mughals.
Inside the Taj Mahal, the decorations and patterns on the walls appear to change their character depending on the lighting conditions. This phenomenon is a deliberate design choice to evoke different emotions during various times of the day.
Mumtaz Mahal’s Grave:
Contrary to Islamic tradition, Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph is not centered under the dome. Instead, it is slightly off-center in order to ensure that Shah Jahan’s cenotaph will be perfectly aligned when placed beside hers in the future.
Inscription of Verses:
The entire exterior of the Taj Mahal is decorated with intricate calligraphy. The inscriptions are verses from the Quran and other Persian poems, showcasing the high regard for literature and art during the Mughal era.
No Shadows on the Taj:
The Taj Mahal is designed in such a way that it never casts a shadow on itself. The architect strategically placed the mosque and jawab on either side to ensure this phenomenon, adding to the overall aesthetic of the monument.
The Taj Mahal’s location next to the Yamuna River is not just for aesthetics. The river helps protect the monument from the threat of earthquakes. The sand foundation and the water act as a buffer against seismic activity.
Banned Photography Angle:
In 2004, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) banned photography from a particular vantage point known as “Mehtab Bagh” across the river. This was done to protect the revenue of local photographers working within the Taj Mahal complex.
Myth of Amputation:
There’s a myth that the workers and artisans who built the Taj Mahal had their hands amputated to prevent them from creating anything as beautiful ever again. However, there is no historical evidence to support this claim.
These unique facts contribute to the Taj Mahal’s status as a marvel of architectural and artistic achievement, enriching the experience for visitors and adding layers of intrigue to its timeless allure.
The museum inside is open from 10 AM to 5 PM. The entry fee of Taj Mahal is ₹50 per person for Indian and ₹540 for SAARC and BIMSTEC citizens. Other foreign visitors need to pay ₹1100 each. And if you wish to enter the mausoleum, an additional ₹200 per person is charged
Night Viewing Timing: 20:30 hrs. to 00.30 hrs. in 8 batches of max. 50 people each. Time duration for each batch is half an hour (30 minutes).
you can book online by below link,