Taj Mahal



Taj Mahal -A Marvel of Love

Take a constitutional down Shahjahan Park in the chilly mauve light of dawn, and the pale white dome of the Taj Mahal, India looms in the distance. Set against the azure skyline, it looks like a mirage in a desert. Inch closer and the supreme majesty of the greatest monument to love comes into focus – with its dew-coated lawns and its pearl-white mausoleum.

Travel to Taj Mahal Agra to baptize into the true glory of this passion of love. As the sun rises to cast a reverential beam on the sepulchre, the ‘dream in marble’ turns from lavender to yellow, while nightfall sees the monument bathed in moonlight – looking like a woman wreathed in smiles while waiting for her lover.

There are many theories as at which time the Taj Mahal, India looks the best, but there is no substitute to viewing it at all hours of the day and the night if you want to understand its myriad facets. Taj Mahal, India is a microcosm of the universe – it contains within it both the yin and the yang, taking on a new personality to suit the occasion. It can be harsh, dry and strong like alabaster, delicately chaste and fragile like porcelain, noisily populous or quiet and secretive.

¤ The Monumental Heritage

A copious amount has been written about the Taj – Agra’s window to the world. Nobel laureate Tagore called it ‘a tear on the face of eternity’, while the painter William Hodges wrote in 1876 that ‘it was like a most perfect pearl on an azure ground’. From Princess Diana to President Clinton to Yanni – the Taj draws every éminence grise from across the ‘seven seas’ to it like a magnet.

As Clinton said during his presidential visit to India, “the world is divided into those who have seen the Taj and those who have not.” The American President joined the list of ‘haves’ this year, but for anyone bitten by the travel bug, a visit to the luminescent monument is an essential part of their resume. To say the ‘miracle in human design’ is the Mughal Empire’s magnum opus is to state the obvious.

Like Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, Omar Khayyam’s ‘Rubaiyat’ or Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’, the Taj instills in you a sublime passion. It uplifts you – one feels more significant as a human being within its confines than outside it.

Quick bytes

State : Uttar Pradesh
Location : Taj Mahal stands majestically in Agra city on the banks of river Yamuna.
Watch Out : Taj Museum; Closed on Mondays and Fridays
Look Out : Taj Mahotsav, February, Held for 10 days.

¤ The History Manifest

Taj Mahal India was made in commemoration of Arjumand Bano Begum. The queen was married at the age of 21 to emperor Jahangir's son Khurram. During all the phases of Khurram life, Arjumand Bano Begum supported him through out. She was like a supporting pillar in his life. In AD 1628, Khurram became king after a bloody battle of succession. He changed his name from Khurram to Shahjahan or the King of the World. Arjumand Bano also changed her name from Mumtaz Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal was not destined to be a queen for a long period of time. She died at the age of 39 while delivering a child at Burhanpur. That auspicious day turned into a mournful event. When Arjumand Banu Begum (better known as Mumtaz Mahal) died in childbirth in 1629, her husband, Emperor Shah Jahan immortalised their love by building the ‘dream in marble’ – the finest illustration of Mughal architecture. The dream took over 22 years to fructify and over 20,000 craftsmen were employed to build it.

¤ Designing of Taj

Who designed the Taj Mahal India is shrouded in mystery – some historians credit the Venetian architect Veroneo with its construction, while others believe it was the work of a Persian called Ustad Isa.

But we do know of the lesser luminaries connected to it with certainty – the central dome was built by Ismail Effendi from Turkey, the calligrapher was Amanat Khan from Shiraz, the mosaicist, Chiranji Lal hailed from Delhi while the goldsmith, Qazim Khan was summoned from Lahore.

A story which is probably apocryphal but has been doing the rounds for generations, says that Shah Jahan had the chief mason’s right hand amputated to preclude him from replicating the ‘marvel in marble’ anywhere else in the world.

Taj Mahal

¤ Taj Nestles On The Banks of Yamuna River

Located at the southern end of the city on the banks of the Yamuna River, the site where the Taj stands belonged to a Hindu nobleman, Raja Man Singh. Abdul Rehman Lahori, the court historian recorded that five million rupees were spent on the building – a king’s ransom in those days.

Once complete, the upkeep of the mausoleum and its 42-acre garden was funded with the revenue obtained from 30 neighbouring villages. There are three lofty gateways to the Tajmahel complex. The central portal is richly decorated with floral arabesques and is inscribed with passages from the Koran. A huge forecourt leads onto a lush garden, which is divided by an aqueduct.

The main monument is a two-storeyed octagonal building with a huge rotunda as its crowning glory. Four sky-scraper tall minarets position themselves as sentries on each side of the monument – all built out of brick and encased in marble. The graves of the celebrated duo, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are housed in the catacomb below. The Taj is remarkable for its perfect proportions and rich pietra dura, and every minutiae in the monument has been etched with consummate skill. In a nutshell, the Taj is the ‘Embodiment of the Islamic Concept of Paradise’

¤ The Architectural Marvel - Paradise on Earth

In the Koran, the garden symbolises paradise. Islam originated in the deserts of Arabia where greenery and water was very much coveted. “Gardens underneath which rivers flow” is a phrase, that appears no less than 30 times in the Koran. The four main rivers of paradise are also mentioned: water, milk, wine and purified honey.

It is unmistakable that Shah Jahan conceptualised the Taj Mahal as ‘heaven on earth’. As you enter the gates of the Taj, it is like an ingression into heaven. The watercourses divide the garden into quadrants. It was Babur who had introduced the char-bagh (four-garden) concept into India. The imagery is threefold: it is a symbol of paradise to reward the faithful; an oasis from the dry desert heat; and a summation of the secular tradition of the royal pleasure garden. and the watercourse, which divides the garden into four, epitomises both, the life source and the meeting of man and God.

In this context, the spacious lawns surrounding the Taj Mahal become as important as the mausoleum itself.Your travel trip to Taj definitely leaves you mesmerize, a ‘Paradise on Earth’ really summarises its ethereal appeal – the monument rivals any of the other wonders of the world.

¤ Taj Mahotsav

The best time to visit this 17 th century monument is during Taj Mahotsav. Taj Mahotsav is 10 day saga held annually at Shilpgram, near Taj Mahal. Bedecked elephants and camels, drum beaters, folk artists and master craftsmen together recreate the glorious past of the Mughals.

During this fest, Taj Mahal comes alive with culture and traditions. Taj Mahostav provides an opportunity to its artisans to perform their art and craft. You can actually purchase crafts which includes wood carvings from Saharanpur, handmade carpets of Badohi, the pottery of Khurja, chickan-work of Lucknow, the silk of Banares and much more.

Through Taj Mahotsav, performers get a platform to showcase profusion of folk music and dances of Dundelkhand, 'Nautanki' (Drama), 'Sapera' dance of Rajasthan, Lavani of Maharashtra.

¤ Shopping At Taj Mahal

Just at the entrance, there are number of shops. These shops sells exquisite crafts and arts at affordable price. You can purchase leather work, footwear and embroidery. Infact, you small Taj Mahal miniature made of white marble are quite popular amongst the tourists.

¤ Getting to Taj Mahal
Air : Just 7 kms from Agra city lies Kheria airport. From Delhi, Indira Gandhi Airport, Taj Mahal is just 204 kms away.
Rail : The nearest rail head for the Taj Mahal is Agra Cantonement railway station. The city is connected with Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi and Taj Express.
Road : Express bus service are available from Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gwalior, and Jhansi.

¤ Accommodation at Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is one of the major attractions of Agra India. Due to its locale, Taj Mahal offers best of accommodation facilities.

Five Star Hotel
Hotel Clark Shiraj
Hotel Taj view

Three Star Hotel
Hotel Deedar-e-Taj
Hotel Amar
Hotel Mansingh Palace

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