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What if there was a Black Taj Mahal facing upfront to his White sister ?
Taj Mahal - A Greatest love saga.
Stamped as one of the revered love stories of India Shajahan being the emperor erected an edifice par excellence in the memory of his dead wife while grieving for her. About 20,000 workers toiled day and night to create this masterpiece, which is today one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Taj Mahal. To this I said to my husband ‘just imagine how much this man must have loved his wife’ my pragmatic CA husband replies to this - we all husbands love our wives its just that we cannot build a Taj Mahal spending 32million rupees which is roughly $1,000,000 !!
The Black Taj or the Second Taj
Have you ever seen or heard or researched upon any Iconic or a landmark monument, obelisk, megalith, shrine, fort, statue, erection which is build in jet black marvel. Wikipedia search say searches are not available. Be it the enigmatic Eiffel tower, The Collosseum steeped in history, the welcoming gesture of Statue of liberty, the precious of its time Hagia Sophia reminding of byzantine and ottoman empires, Christ the redeemer keeping an eye over the people for decades, the list may go on and on but none of these magnum opus is made of a black rock of marble.
Just close your eyes and visualize a black Taj Mahal !! It would have been one of its kind or rather first of its kind in world history. Just as the White Taj dazzles in a full moon night coming out enhancing the pent up beauty it holds similarly in every day light the Balck Taj would emit an aura deeply bold and pure, the contrast of a black edifice amidst the white day light is itself utopian. Just imagine if it would been a real thing not a reel nor a myth or a farce. Think of what starlight,lamplight would lack, diamonds and fireflies If they couldn't lean against Black.
Few poets or writers may have started with their imagination to pen down the black twin sister of TAJ MAHAL with illustrations like - The most colorful thing in the world is black and white, it contains all colors and at the same time excludes all, Black vs White critical analysis of good versus evil, winning contrast to losing the battle of life, exegesis were written on Black Taj as an alter-ego to the white Taj Mahal, many such annotations would have been jotted down by eminent poets, authors and essayist all over the world. Antecedents and history would have been coded on the study of the Black Mahal. Did you think over it !!
Bodywork of this Seven Wonder.
- The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum (a large tomb). It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife Empress Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. So great was the Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz, that he ordered the building of the most beautiful mausoleum on Earth for her, The Taj Mahal.
- The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure.
- The Taj Mahal is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.The tomb stands on its own marble base, which rests on a red sandstone platform. Four tall pillars, 138 ft each, rise up from the corners of the white marble base are topped with eight windowed cupolas. This has been made to replicate throne of God in paradise.
- Directly below the dome rests Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb, which is centrally lined with the main entrance. Besides Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb is the tomb of Shahjahan. The tomb of Shahjahan was not actually intended to be there but Aurangzeb placed it there, consequently breaking the symmetry.
- Construction of the tomb started in 1632, and was completed in 1648. It took 22 years to complete the tomb, and an extra 5 years for the garden, with the help of 20,000 workers. Sculptors, masons, craftsmen, and calligraphers were called from Persia, Ottoman Empire and Europe to work on construction of the Taj.
- The Taj Mahal is built from precious white marble with delicate mosaic, with inlaid precious stones. Almost every surface of the entire building has been decorated, and every detail is symmetrical. The mosaic designs are based on three decorative elements- calligrapyh, abtract geonetric and vegetative motifs. The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest to be found in Mughal architecture of any period. History also says there were gold and precious stones embedded into the white structure adding a superlative grandeur.
- Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China ,Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal & Comelian from Arabia and Diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal.
- The construction was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including Abdul-karim-mamur Khan,Makramat khan and Ustad Ahmad Lahori.Few scholars also states Ustad-Isa, a persian master was the chief architect of the Taj Mahal.
- Though some European scholars held the view that an Italian named Geronimo Veronio had designed the Taj.
- The garden that starts from the end of the gateway which finishes near the sqaure base of the Mausoleum forms an integral part of Taj Mahal.It is build from from the Persian Timurid style of gardens, and is based on the concept of ‘paradise garden'. A paradise which, according to Islamic beliefs, consists of four rivers: one of water, one of milk, one of honey, and one of wine. And it is from this concept that 'Char Bagh' or garden of Taj Mahal originated.
- An ingenious method was devised to ensure uniform and undiminished water pressure in the fountains, inspite of the distance and the outflow of water. The fountain pipes were not connected directly with the copper pipes feeding them to avoid a gradual decrease in the volume and pressure of the water. Instead, a copper pot has been provided under each fountain pipe - which was thus connected to with the water supply only through the pot. Water first fills the pot and then only rises simultaneously in the fountains. The fountains are thus controlled by pressure in the pots and not pressure in the main pipe.
Which would have been chosen the seven wonder of the world?
A Myth Or a Certitude
- Many people believe, Shah Jehan had planned to build another Taj Mahal in black marble, which was to be his own tomb on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna and connect the two by a bridge. However, the construction never got started due to conflict with this son’s, which took up most of his time
- Shah Jehan deemed that no one else should ever copy the masterpice, so he had the master craftsmans hands cut off.
- Some European scholars held the view that the Taj was designed by an Italian – Geronimo Veroneo. This was first suggested by Father Manrique, an Augustinian Friar, who came to Agra in 1640 A.D. to secure the release of Father Antony who had been imprisoned by the Mughals
Historical revisionism by P.N Oak
- Oak claims that Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple called Tejo Mahalaya seized by Shah Jahan later adopted as a tomb.
- He pointed out the word ’Mahal’ is used for a palace not a tomb.
- He has gone on record to say Taj Mahal was build on a hindu temple plan. A central dome with cupolas at its four corners is a universal feature of Hindu temples. The four marble pillars at the plinth corners are of the Hindu style.They are used as lamp towers during night and watch towers during day.
- Further Oak points out the finial of Taj depicts the trident pinnacle over the dome and the central shaft of the pinnacle depicts a kalash holding two bent mango leaves and a coconut, which is a sacred Hindu motif.
- He asserts that Hindu ornaments and symbols were effaced from the Taj, whose sealed chambers hold the remnants, including a Shiva Lingam, of the original temple and that Mumtaj Mahal does not lay buried on her cenotaph
- For putting weight to his claims he produces carbon dating results of the wood from the riverside doorway of the monument.
- Hindu temples are often built on river banks and sea beaches. The Taj is one such built on the bank of the Yamuna river an ideal location for a Shiva temple.
- The revisionist puts forwards in his Taj theory eyewitness accounts of the Taj Mahal's construction as well as Shah Jahan's construction orders and voluminous financial records are elaborate frauds meant to hide its Hindu origin.
However this man’s efforts were paid no heed as in 2000 India's Supreme Court dismissed Oak's petition to declare that a Hindu king had built the Taj Mahal and reprimanded him for bringing the action. It may appear he might had a bee on his bonnet for Taj or may he is a crank to ignite this bizarre idea on his brain box. But his conclusions, assumptions and attestations are very impressive if you read his book Taj Mahal: The True Story.
More on Taj...A Tribute- A Celebration-A Discovery.
- Recent news reported Agra Mayor Anjula Singh Mahaur said both the central and Uttar Pradesh governments were not interested in promoting tourism. Her remarks come close on the heels of her proposed trip to France for the release of the most expensive coin on the Taj Mahal being shot down. The French coin depicting the Taj would be the most expensive to be released by the Paris mint. It will weigh around 1 kg and will carry 68 diamonds. It is priced at 100,00 Euros.
- The gateway entrance to Taj was originally build with a solo motif to prevent the mass to get a glimpse of the tomb until they are right in the doorway itself. The dwarfing images of visitors strolling around the tomb just emits an over the moon feeling.
- Historian Wayne Begley suggests Amanat Khan (residant of the Mughal court) was responsible for the script but also the choice of the texts in the inscriptions studded on the pillars and domes.The majority of the texts is extracted from the holy Quran.Inside the Mausoleum the walls are panelled with inscriptions containing descriptions of paradise
- Under shah Jahan’s patronage Mughal architecture reached new levels of refinement. Earlier Mughal building had primarily been constructed of red sandstone; Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones
- It has been recorded by Tavernier : "Shah Jehan began to build his own tomb on
the other side of the river but the war with his sons interrupted his plan and Aurangzeb who reigns at present is not disposed to complete it". Later gazetteers and guide books mention this story almost invariably.
- The irregular position of the cenotaph of Shah Jehan as compared to that of Mumtaz Mahal which occupies the exact centre of the hall is enough proof into itself.
- The Mehtab Burj and the wall adjoining it opposite the Taj Mahal are generally said to be the grim remains of the proposed plan.
- The weight of the entire structure is uniformly distributed, extraordinarily massive piers and vaults were constructed to support this heavy load, the very best quality of bonding material helped combat the disrupted tensile stress etc.However, in spite of all these precautions and care, dangerous cracks and leakages developed in the substructure just four years after its completion.
- The Archaeological Survey of India 2013, has prescribed a mud pack for the treatment of monument.The mud pack treatment will clean up the dust particles accumulated over this 17th Century monument.
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Taj can evoke Literature
There is no second thoughts that Taj Mahal is a tale of overwhelming passion.The story of Taj has cadences of Greek tragedy and a ripe emotion of grand opera as mentioned in the book by Diana and Michael Preston.As quoted by Rabindranath Tagore "The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time". I feel calling 'her' beautiful is an understatement, its like addressing Taj Mahal nothing but a marble grave.My first impression of the spectacle was a lingering surge of calmness to ones eyes and senses.The first adjective that crawls on your tongue is' pure' associated with the white rock cut.This purity can pal around with William Blake poem on his songs of innocense 'Lamb'.Just like the poet says 'Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee ...'This overtly simple poem also subtly approaches the subject of creativity and the creator. Similarly after visiting Taj Mahal you can only call it an embodiment of innocence, joy and tenderness.The inscriptions written over the gateway invites the readers to enter Paradise,the abode of faithful and the reward for the righteous.For all those teeming millions who have not been privileged to make a tour of Taj its time to brace up for the grand tour of your life.