July 22, 2012

Taj Mahal - one of the world wonders

Site Name: Taj Mahal
Site Type: Monument, Historical, Heritage, Tomb, Mosque
Location:  Agra, Uttar Pradesh State, near New Delhi, India
Highlights: Considered as a world wonder; the most popular tourist destination in India; considered as the best Mughal work
Nearest Railway Station: Agra
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Agra city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

For any Indian traveller, 'Taj Mahal' definitely comes to his/her mind when he/she hears about Agra city; for any foreign traveller, the same monument comes to his/her mind when he/she hears about India. In simple words, that is the power of Taj Mahal, the most popular travel destination in India. Most of the foreign travelers visiting North India ensure that Taj Mahal is included in their travel itinerary. It has been the dream of any ordinary Indian to visit Taj Mahal at least once in his/her life.  It is considered as one of the seven wonders of world. (I personally do not consider Taj Mahas as the best destination in India. Neither is this the most beautiful monument. Nevertheless, I love this monument.)


This finest example of Mughal architecture, a combination of Turkish, Indian and Persian architectural styles, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 AD. He started constructing this in the year of 1632 AD in the memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. In 1631 AD, Mutaz Mahal died during the birth of her 14th child. The Mughal emperor who loved her like anything was struck with extreme grief and he ultimately decided to construct the most beautiful memorable for her wife.


The tomb is the main attraction in the entire complex. The large white marble structure stands on a square plinth. Four minarets at four corners are found. The main chamber houses the false graves of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The actual graves are found at the lower leve. The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is the most spectacular features.


The exterior decorations of the mausoleum are very attractive. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays or carvings. They can be grouped into calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs. The lower wass of the tomb are found with the bas relief depictions of flowers and vines.


The complex is set around a huge char bagh aka Mughal garden. The raised pathways divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, with the reflecting pool which reflects the image of the mausoleum is picturesqe and very popular among photo enthusiasts.


The complex is surrounded on three sides by red standstone walls; the river facing side is left open. There are additional mausoleums including the other wives of Shah Jahan are also present in the structure. There are two grand red sandstone buildings at the far end of the complex. The western building is a mosque and the other one is merely built for the purpose of architectural balance.

The main gateway is a monumental structure built primarily of marble is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural style.

I have covered the features of Taj Mahal briefly in this post. It is impossible to cover all the intricate features of the monument and the corrsponding history in a single article. As there are many sites and books written on this great monument, let me not spend much time in elobaring them.

Happy travelling.



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