Famous as one of the wonders, the Taj Mahal at Agra, India, is epitome of true love. Taj Mahal was built by the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal. The architectural beauty and magnificence of the Taj Mahal has never been surpassed. The Taj Mahal is said to be the most beautiful monument built by the Mughal rulers and it represents the zenith of the Mughal architecture. Built entirely of white marbles, the beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond description. The beauty of the Taj Mahal has been aptly summarized by the famous English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones."
The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan married Arjumand Banu Begam, better
known by the name Mumtaj Mahal, in the year 1612 AD. Mumtaj Mahal was
Shah Jahan's second wife. After their marriage, Mumtaj Mahal became her
husband's comrade and counselor. Mumtaj Mahal became an inseparable
companion of Shah Jahan on all his journeys and military expeditions and
an inspiration behind Shah Jahan's acts of charity and benevolence. In
the year 1631 the cruel hands of destiny snatched Mumtaj Mahal from Shah
Jahan. To immortalize the memory of Mumtaj Mahal, Shah Jahan decided to
build a monument of eternal love. This monument of eternal love is none
other than the spectacular and magnificence Taj Mahal.
A beautiful location on the banks of the river Yamuna was chosen and
the foundation of the Taj Mahal was laid down. The master architect of
the Taj Mahal was Ustad Isa. He was one of the most renowned Islamic
architects of his time. Taj Mahal, the much-celebrated saga of royal
love was brought to life by competent and skilled artisans from places
like Delhi, Kannauj, Lahore, Multan, Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara. The
construction work of the Taj Mahal began in 1631. More than 20,000
workmen, sculptors and master craftsmen worked painstakingly for 22
years to carve out the most famous symbol of eternal love, the Taj
Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built entirely in white marbles and the
material was brought in from all over India and central Asia. The Taj
Mahal complex was finally completed in 1653 at a cost of 32 Million
Rupees (approx USD 68000) on the banks of river Yamuna in Agra, the
capital of the Mughal monarchs.
The Taj Mahal stands on a raised and square platform with its four
corners shortened, forming an unequal octagon. Interlocking arabesque
concept is the architectural design that has been used in the
construction of the Taj Mahal. In this style each element stands on its
own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. The central dome
of the Taj Mahal is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height
of 213 feet and is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. There are
four graceful, slender minarets in the structure of the Taj Mahal. Each
of these minarets is 162.5 feet each. Precious gems and stones were used
for decoration and calligraphy purposes.
The main archway of the Taj Mahal is a wonder in itself. This archway
is chiseled with passages from the Holy Quran and bold scroll work of
flowery pattern. The Taj Mahal mausoleum is a part of a vast complex
comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the
left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial
buildings. The Taj Mahal stands at the farthest end of the Taj Mahal
complex, with the river Yamuna behind it. The large garden contains four
reflecting pools dividing it at the center.
Taj Mahal at Agra is said to be the most beautiful monument. The Taj Mahal was built by the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.