Taj Mahal in March 2004

Taj Mahal - a saga of love

Taj Mahal located in Agra, a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a monument, constructed in 22 years (1631-1653). The Taj Mahal fondly called simply the Taj, is one of the finest examples of Indian architecture, and combines the elements of traditional Islamic, Persian, and Hindu architecture. Being associated with and inspired by love of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jehan for his wife, Mumtaj Mahal, the Taj has acquired an aura of its own, and is an expression of this love in the white marble unmatched for its intricate craftsmanship. The Taj is a must visit among the 100 places before one dies, and it generally features on the itinerary of domestic and the global tourists visiting north India.

In fact, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum of Shah Jehan’s favorite wife, Mumtāz Mahal, who had died during a childbirth. The main mausoleum is located in a sprawling complex, and the main structure, the Taj, according to Wikipedia, has the following major parts:

  • Finial: decorative crowning element of the Taj Mahal domes
  • Lotus decoration: depiction of lotus flower sculpted on tops of domes
  • Onion dome: massive outer dome of the tomb (also called an amrud or apple dome)
  • Drum: cylindrical base of the onion dome, raising it from the main building
  • Guldasta: decorative spire attached to the edge of supporting walls
  • Chattri: a domed and columned kiosk
  • Spandrel: upper panels of an archway
  • Calligraphy: stylised writing of verses from the Qu'ran framing main arches
  • Arch: also called pishtaq (Persian word for portal projecting from the facade of a building) and
  • Dado: decorative sculpted panels lining lower walls
Trivia Trail
  • The Taj Mahal has four minarets and each one of them were raised in a way to stand tilted to an angel of 88 degrees outwards. This was don’t to safeguard them from collapse during earthquakes.
  • Several teams of workers and artisans worked for about two decades to build the living treasure, the Taj Mahal, and they numbered nearly 20,000. 
  • The water feature in the front is home to thousands of tadpoles
  • During World War Two a scaffold was put over the Taj Mahal to so Axis bombers could not find it