“It appears like a perfect pearl on an azure ground. The effect is such I have never experienced from any work of art.”
- Hodges, British painter
Some admire as a work of art, others as the marvellous piece of architecture, while some adore it as the symbol of love and beauty. Standing tall and beautiful as the Heritage of Incredible India, the Taj Mahal in Agra splashes wonder to one and all.
It represents the culmination of Mughal architecture in all its refinement and aesthetic delights. Emperor Shah Jahan built it as a fabulous memorial for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj not only incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture, but it has also created a whole new dimension for architectural vision.
The walls of this heavenly castle treasure fascinating stories from History. Though this Wonder of the Wonders is known worldwide for its resplendence, not many know the captivating facts about this dreamy castle. So, let’s go down the history lane and dig some amazing facts.
- World Heritage Site: The Taj Mahal in Agra is among the first from India, declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. The two others are– Agra Fort and Ajanta-Ellora Caves.
- Flawless Symmetry: The four sides of the Taj Mahal are perfectly identical creating an astonishingly mirrored image on each side. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.
- Wonderful foundation: Taj’s foundation is made of timber which is not supposed to be long lasting. The wood should weaken over time and crumble owing to rot and ruin, but that did not happen because the wood is kept strong and moist by the River Yamuna.
- Amazing fountains of Taj: The fountains in the Taj’s garden have a special feature to ensure uniform water pressure in all the fountains. To ensure an undiminished water pressure in the fountains, the fountain pipes were not connected directly with the copper pipes feeding them. Instead, a copper pot was provided under each fountain pipe so that the water first fills the pot and then only rises at the same time in the fountains. The pressure in the pots is maintained and so in the fountains.
- Let the Taj captivate your heart: The makers and constructors of the Taj Mahal employed an optical trick so that as you move closer to the gate, the Taj keeps getting smaller. It seems to grow bigger as you walk away. The guides here say when you leave, you take the Taj with you in your heart.
- Immense efforts: It is estimated to have taken more than 22,000 people to build this impressive building including labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists, and many others.
- Reflecting the myriad shades of beauty: The Taj changes colours depending on the light which falls over it. It reflects pink shade in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines.
- Impeccable artistry: In the Taj, pietra dura (pictorial mosaic work) has been extensively used to translate naturalistic forms into decorative patterns that complement the majesty of its architecture.
- The beautiful surroundings: The Taj Mahal is surrounded by significant gardens and a number of other buildings including a mosque and guest houses which make up the 17 hectares of land within the complex walls.
- A dream built in stages: Taj Mahal was built in stages, with the plinth and the tomb taking up roughly 15 years. The building of minarets, mosque, and gateway took additional 5 years to be completed.
- Earthquake-proof: The four minarets of the Taj Mahal were built in a way to protect the monument in the case of calamity like an earthquake. The minarets are tilting outwards to protect the Taj in case there’s an earthquake, the minarets will fall away from the main tomb.
Reading about the Taj is amazing but admiring the Taj standing in front of it, is an incredible experience. So, wait no more and hit the road to the timeless beauty – the Taj Mahal.