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  • Taj Mahal is a beautiful monument built on the bank of Yamuna River in Agra. It is made up of white ivory marble. It was built as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The monument includes a mosque and a guest house along with a garden which surrounds the monument from three sides.
  • Taj Mahal means “Crown Palace” and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. The English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold has described The Taj as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.”
  • It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his third but the most favourite wife, in fact a soul-mate Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess.

1) Area Map of Agra


2) Taj Mahal ( Rauza – I- Munavvara )

  • The tomb was known to the Mughals as Rauza – I- Munavvara (the “Illumined Tomb”) because of the luster and transparency of its marble.
  • Later it was also referred to as Rauza- I- Mumtaz Mahal, which the English contracted to Taj Mahal in the 19th  century.
  • Mumtaz Mahal died unexpectedly in 1631 while giving birth to her fourteenth child.
  • 20,000 workmen labored for 15 yrs. for her tomb.
  • Shah Jahan was also buried on Mumtaz’s right, feet facing south, and closer to the Kaaba , as required by the Islam.

3) Taj Mahal’s Architect ???

  • Historical records list says that several people are responsible for the tomb or parts of it :-
  • Ismail Khan from Turkey may have designed the dome.
  • Qazim Khan from Lahore cast its gold finial.
  • Chiranjilal, a local from Delhi was the chief sculptor and mosaicist.
  • Amanat Khan from Shiraz was the chief calligrapher.
  • Other specialists included sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from South India, & stonecutters from Baluchistan.
  • 37 men can be counted in its creative nucleus.
  • In this sense, Taj Mahal was a global project.
  • Yet given that Shah Jahan personally supervised the design & approved every aspect of project, he must be recognized as the chief architect of the Taj Mahal.

4) Site Plan of Taj Mahal

  • The main tomb is on the southern bank of the Yamuna River on a vast platform 103 meters square & 7m. High, erected on arches.
  • To its west, stands a mosque, made of sandstone, with 3 modest marble domes.
  • To its east is an identical structure, placed there to provide symmetry.
  • Reflected in the wide waters of the Yamuna, which slowly flows in Agra, the Taj Mahal seems to be an apparition of domes & minarets rising above the plain.
  • The side usually depicted today is actually the building’s rear ; the Mughal emperors accessed it from the water , arriving by means of a special barge that docked at northeastern edge of the platform, from which a stair leads up to the tomb.
  • Land based access to the taj is from its southern garden.

5) Mughal Gardens

  • With an area of 6.9 hectares, was projected as representing the earthly paradise, in the style of Persian gardens introduced in India by Babur, the first Mogul emperor. Originally contained a multitude of exotic flowers and trees, everything in them available geometric and perfectly symmetrical: gardeners worked with the conscious effort to translate to heavenly perfection earthly terms, following a series of formulas well known. Thus, the four, number sacred in Islam and was the basis of the entire design.
  • The channels, the symbol of the four rivers of paradise (of which, according to tradition, manaba water, milk, wine and honey), with fountains and flanked by cypress trees (which, in addition to providing shade, accentuating the lines of perspective), Cross in the center forming a pond of water lilies in white marble, slightly elevated above the ground, a symbol of alKawthar, the celestial pond in the abundance mentioned in the Koran, was designed so that the mausoleum be reflected in its waters. Each of the four parties that surround channels are divided by shrubbery in sixteen stone paths.
  • In the Mughal architecture, water is used both for ritual ablution to cool and humidify the environment, a wise combination of religious significance to the practical need. Was extracted from the river and canals will be introduced in some underground stems from which to fill the ponds and water gardens you.

6) Plan of Taj Mahal (Nine Fold Plan)

  • In architecture Hasht-Bihisht (Persian:  تشهب‌ تشه‌ lit. ‘Eight    Paradises’) refers to a Specific type of floorplan common in Persian architecture and Mughal architecture whereby the plan is divided into 8 chambers surrounding a central room.
  • The eight divisions and frequent octagonal forms of such structures represent the eight levels of paradise for Muslims.

7) Cenotaph Area


8) Mass and Space rendered as figures


9) Section of Taj Mahal


10) Building Materials

  • Although the bulk of the building material is from South Asia, the Taj Mahal’s ornamental materials came from all round Eurasia.
  • Its marble and red sandstone came from the hills of Makrana, near Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • From central Asia came nephrite jade and crystal; from Tibet turquoise; from upper Burma yellow amber; from Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan, lapis lazuli; from Egypt, chrysolite; and from the Indian Ocean, rare shells , coral & mother of pearl.
  • Topazes, onyxes, garnets, sapphires, and bloodstones were among the 43 types of precious & semi- precious stones from all around India that were used.
  • A distinguishing characteristic of the Taj Mahal’s massing is that in elevation, all the elements are clustered & hierarchically arranged to ensure that they do not compete with each other & instead build up the centrality of the main dome.

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