Story: Taj Mahal; 22-10-2022;
Taj Mahal, The symbol of love. Shah Jahān and his second wife Mumtaz Mahal.
• The last name “Mahal” in Taj Mahal, is also the surname of Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of the Shah Jahan.
Brief about Shah Jahan:
Shah Jahan the fifth Mughal emperor of India, in history books he is mostly famed for his love and affection for his wife (Mumtaj Mahal), but indeed he was a great architecture lover and a leader who smoothly ruled India for a very long period (he ruled 30 years over India, before his son took over.)
The Taj Mahal (agra), and the Red Fort (Delhi) are two most famous monuments in the world, were built by Shah Jahan, who indeed was one of the greatest rulers of the Mughal Dynasty.
Story behind Taj Mahal:
The Taj Mahal,"crown of palaces", pronounced also "the Taj" is a white Marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in Agra, India.
• It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum.
She was buried temporarily in Burhanpur, until her body was transferred to Agra in January 1632. That same month, construction began on the Taj Mahal over the site of her burial.
Infact the tombs of both her and her husband, Shah Jahān, is in Taj Mahal.
The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal.
The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words.
• The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.
The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including Abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
• Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2020 would be approximately 70 billion rupees (about U.S. $956 million).
The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
Inspired by Indo-Islamic and Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal design line is a beautiful example of various common Mughal architectural aspects like Gumbaz (Dome), Minaar (minarets), Khile hue Baagh-Bageeche (flourishing garden), Qur'an aayats (the lines from the Qur'an) , Kadhaai (embroidery), use of expensive building materials and much more.
While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. Buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement.
Taj Mahal is an expensive-built monument. It was built with such accuracy that architects from around the world get impressed easily, given the fact that modern tools-technology wasn't available back then.
• The base structure is a large multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners forming an unequal eight-sided structure that is approximately 55 metres (ca. 180 ft) on each of the four long sides.
• The dome is nearly 35 meters (ca. 115 feet) high which is close in measurement to the length of the base, and accentuated by the cylindrical “drum” it sits on, which is approximately 7 metres (ca. 23 feet) high.
• This motif of stacked pishtaq is replicated on the chamfered corner areas, making the design completely symmetrical on all sides of the building.
• Four minarets frame the tomb, which are each more than 40 meters (ca. 131 ft) tall.
• The main chamber houses the symbolic tomb of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; their graves are at a lower level.
• The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex.
Why Taj Mahal was built:
Taj Mahal, in its true means, is the emblem of love of an emperor and his most beloved wife.
That it was built in the memory. It was fulfilment of one of the promises that the Shah Jahan made to Mumtaz Mahal (erect a monument to match her beauty.)