Amazing Facts about the Taj Mahal in Agra, India
The Taj Mahal in the Agra city of Uttar Pradesh in India is a monument that stands out in all its glory as a symbol of true everlasting love. It was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan to proclaim his undying love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal after her death.
It is an architectural marvel that stands as an example of the exceptional artistic skills of artisans in those times. Taj Mahal is one among the famous landmarks of India and a popular tourist destination.
Amazing Facts about the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is a monument that stands in all its magnificence as a symbol true love. Taj Mahal reflects art and architecture during the Mughal period and is influenced by Persian and Mughal architecture.
It was built between 1631 – 1648. Ahmad Lahori was the main architect of Taj Mahal. Building materials were brought from different parts of India and Asia to build this timeless monument in the history of humanity.
Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It is one among the seven wonders of the world. It stands as a symbol of true love in Agra on the banks of the river Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Mumtaz Mahal means "The Chosen One of the Palace". Her maiden name was "Gauhar Begum". She was the third wife of Shah Jahan. He loved her very much and was his favorite wife.
Death of Mumtaz Mahal
In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to Shah Jahan's fourteenth child. Shah Jahan was grief stricken and locked himself up in a room without taking food or water for eight days. The death of his beloved Queen was the reason behind the construction of the Taj Mahal.
Construction of the Taj Mahal
Twenty thousand workers were employed to construct the Taj Mahal. The chief architects of Taj Mahal were -
- Turkish Architects Ismail Afandi and Ustad Isa together planned and worked out the main design of Taj Mahal.
- Amanat Khan from Iran handled the calligraphy on the walls of Taj Mahal.
- Sculptors from Bukhara
- Calligraphers from Syria and Persia
- Inlayers from Southern India
- Stone Cutters from Baluchistan
Embellishments on the walls of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is built out of crystalline marble, gemstones and sandstone.
The walls of the Taj Mahal have been decorated with precious stones obtained from different parts of the world -
- Marble from Makrana Rajasthan
- Jasper from Punjab
- Jade and Crystal from China
- Turquoise from Tibet
- Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan
- Sapphire from Sri Lanka
- Carnelian from Arabia
Coral, Onyx, Cats Eye, Jade and Bloodstone were also used.
Why Marble and Red Sandstone were chosen to build the Taj Mahal
Makrana Marble is resistant to erosion by weather and does not change color. It is not affected by acids and alkali. This marble has a magnificent white color. It is easy to cut, carve and work with and a high-quality building material.
Red Sandstone is sturdy, hard and strong. This stone does not absorb water quickly and is resistant to high temperatures. It is harder than granite and resistant to weathering, acids and alkalis.
Pietra Dura - Art form used on walls of the Taj Mahal
The walls of the Taj Mahal have a beautiful decoration of floral designs in different colors. The decorations were made using an art technique called Pietra dura. Pietra dura initially started in Rome.
Pietra dura means hard rock in Italian. Pietra dura is also referred to as Parchin Kari in South Asia. It was taught to the Mughal artists by craftsmen from Italy.
In this art form, the design is first drawn on the marble surface using stone cutting tools. The inner part of the design is scooped out carefully leaving a hollow. This hollow is inlaid with gemstones that are cut and shaped to fit the hollows to perfection.
The result is a flat, smooth marble slab with decorations of gemstones in different patterns. Green, black and white gemstones are used in this type of artwork.
Calligraphy Writings on the Walls of the Taj Mahal
The writings on the walls of Taj Mahal is in "tuluth" script, a signature style of Amanat Khan. The calligraphy on the walls is made of jasper or black marble that is inlaid with white marble. Jasper, yellow marble and jade were also used for the inlaying pattern on the walls.
Amanat Khan handled both the script and content of the text. The texts are chosen from the holy verses of the "Quran".
Taj Mahal is a monument, one of the seven wonders of the world and a great tribute to true love. A monument that must be visited at least once in a lifetime.
© 2013 Nithya Venkat