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The Taj Mahal

India's Monument Of Love


The Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world, it is also a symbol of love. The Taj Majal in India was bult during 1631-1653 by Shah Jahan a well known Moghul Emperor. The entire premises that houses the Taj Mahal is so large, that it needed over 20 years to complete it's construction. Though the Taj was dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal his wife, it was built after her death. This shows how much Shah Jahan loved his wife, it proudly stands till today as a symbol of love. The meaning of Taj Mahal would be 'The Crown Palace', at least part of the name came from the name of his wife's name Mumtaz Mahal. The historic monument stands of the banks of the river Yamuna in North India. It is said that the cost of building the Taj Mahal was around 7 million dollars which was indeed a very huge amount at that time. The intricate work around the Taj Mahal both inside and outside was painstakingly done by more than 20,000 craftsmen and artisans.

It is said that Shah Jahan was very impressed by the completed consctruction and wanted to make sure that there would never be another monument as beautiful as the Taj Mahal. This drove him to commit one of the most horrific crimes recorded in history, he chopped off the hands of all the 20,000 craftsmen. This sadly implies that he ruined at least 20,000 families as the craftsmen could never work again. Most reports and tourist publications skim over this senseless crime and instead present the physical features of the Taj Mahal.

 

This photograph is taken as you walk towards the Taj Mahal. Notice the entire monument is made of white marble, the floor is just as beautiful as the walls and the ceiling. The four pillars (minarets) on each corner of the Taj Mahal tilt slightly outwards, away from the monument. An interesting reason for this can be read in this report.

The Taj Mahal took over 20 years to build, a substantial amount of this time was spent to get the marble and jasper stone that was used to construct this stunning monument. The four minarets that you see in the above image are tilted a bit, they tilt away from the monument. This not a mistake, it is also not something that occured over time. The brains that designed this beauty made provisions for an earthquake. It was believed that a strong earthquake could cause the minarets to fall down. With the slight outward tilt, the minarets were more likely to fall outwards and therefore away from the Taj Mahal. Each minaret is over 130 feet tall and has a view post (closed balcony) on the top.

 

Taj Mahal Minarets tilt outwards
A closer view of the one of the minarets around the Taj Mahal. The majestic minaret rises and soars from the marbled flooring of the monument. It was believed that the slight tilt (outwards) of each minaret would ensure that, they would not fall on the Taj Mahal if they were uprooted or destroyed by an earthquake.

The board of chief architects who managed the entire design and construction of this magnifcient symbom of love was believed to be lead by Ustad Ahamed Lahauri. It is not clear whether the selected team of designers remained constant throughout the 20 years that it took to complete the construction of the Taj Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal was Emperor Shah Jahan's 13th wife and the couple is believed to have had 14 children together. Mumtaz Mahal died during the delivery of their 14th child.

Shah Jahan was believed to have used these words to describe the Taj Mahal after it was completed. It was like a monument of all monuments on this planet.

Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory.

 

taj mahal india
The Taj Mahal seen from one of it's sides. Thousands of craftsmen posessing expertise in various skills were employed to create this dream monument. It is very sad that Shah Jahan ordered the hands of all these craftsmen to be chopped. He could not bear the thought of them ever making anything so grand.

The Taj Mahal is located in the Indian city of Agra. This city belongs to the state of Uttar Pradesh. Winters can be very cold and foggy, summers are extremely hot. If you plan to make a trip to see the Taj, it is best to take the help of a conducted tour. Like most tourists places across the globe, cheats and tricksters are often around to play their gimmicks on innocent tourists. Carry your drinking water and avoid hot or cold drinks as they can be unhygenic. Making a trip in the hot summers also means that foodstuffs are more likely to get spoilt by the severe heat. If travelling to see the Taj Mahal in the winter, try to find out whether the location is covered with fog before you travel there. To get the best photographs, you need a crisp sun and a clear day. Most of the photographs on this page would have looked far more attractive with a few clouds in the sky!

taj mahal architecture
This photograph gives a terrific view of the designs incorporated into the construction. The outside carvings combine Jasper and white marble. This is a tedious inlay work and accounts for the 20 long years that it took to complete the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan was originally Prince Khurram, the son of the Moghul Emporer Jehangir. Mumtaz Mahal was a Persian Princess named Arjumand Banu Begum before her marriage to Shah Jahan. The two met when Shah Jahan (then Prince Khurram) was just 14 years old, they got married about five years later. Shah Jahan had many wives but Mumtaz was the one he loved the most, the Taj Mahal was built in her memory.

History records that Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son and imprisoned by his own son. He died a prisoner leaving behind a massive and amazing monument that is today one of the most recognized constructions in the world. The Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay (India) is in no way related to the Taj Mahal in Agra. The hotel interestingly was the scene of a massive terrorist attack a few years ago. Islamic terrorists, took control of the hotel and killed dozens of innocent occupants. The hotel itself was burnt and bombed as hundreds of armed commandos ran after a handful of terrorist holed up in the hotel.


 

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