The Taj Mahal is the most grandiose and mysterious architectural monument dedicated to love. Today this mosque is recognized as the new wonder of the world and is protected by UNESCO. This famous structure is located in India and has no analogues in the world. Thousands of pilgrims come here every year, captivated by the romantic story of its creation. Read in this article the history of the creation of the Taj Mahal in Agra and other useful information.
The Taj Mahal – a love story
With the love story that caused the construction of the landmark and should begin to get acquainted with this mausoleum in India. The story goes that the Taj Mahal mausoleum was built by order of Shah Jahan, the ruler and emperor of the Mughal Empire. The great ruler suffered great sorrow when his beloved wife died giving birth to his fourteenth child. For a whole year the emperor could not come to terms with the loss, and then decided in memory of his late wife to build the most majestic and beautiful tomb in the world.
Thus began the construction of the temple, which lasted a full 21 years. This story of an architectural gem shows that the heart of the great ruler of an entire nation belonged to only one woman. By the way Jahan’s love, Mumtaz was the third wife in the harem. The girl entered the harem of the ruler when she was 19 years old, and all the years that the couple were together, the emperor did not want his wife. The architectural monument is one of the 7 Wonders of the World today.
Construction and Architecture of the Taj Mahal
It remains a mystery who built and was the author of the Taj Mahal project. In those days the work of architects in the Islamic world was not in reverence, all the laurels and the glory of the greatness of buildings went to the customer, and therefore in the annals in connection with the construction of the shrine mentioned only the name of Shah Jahan. According to historians, the main idea for the structure belonged to the then famous architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. It is the style of this architect that is clearly visible in the architecture of the mosque.
Construction began in the winter of 1632. The construction involved 20,000 men recruited from among the emperor’s subjects and brought in from neighboring states. The honor to participate in the construction work were awarded only to the best craftsmen, because according to the emperor’s plan the tomb of his beloved wife had to be perfect.
The most remarkable feature of the architecture of this structure is an optical illusion, it surprises not only tourists, but also famous architects. The illusion is that a person is used to the fact that when he approaches an object, the object increases, the code distances, the object, decreases. Here it’s the other way around. As you approach the temple, it visually becomes smaller, and the closer you get, the smaller the temple. And when you step back with your back to the front, the structure gets bigger and bigger, and ends up practically overhanging the person.
The structure is divided into two parts, one symbolizing worldly life and the other the afterlife, unknowable and unexplainable. Connecting these two worlds is a path with a pond, which originates from the arch of the mausoleum. This road of transition between two worlds.
Inside, tourists are greeted by a chic octagonal hall with luxurious columns. The walls are studded with gems and gems of incredible beauty, which have been collected from all over the world. The ruler’s ambassadors also came to Russia for rare varieties of malachite and jasper. Behind a marble screen are two shining sarcophagi of the Jahan family. In fact, these tombs are not real, the graves of the spouses are underground.
Looting the Tomb
It is now known that during the civil uprising of 1857, the British seized the gold that had been used to decorate the spires of the tomb. The soldiers also took out most of the jewels from the walls of the Taj Mahal. Many argue that the looting was on a much larger scale. Legend has it that doors made of carved jasper, as well as diamonds and Persian carpets, have disappeared.
Today it is impossible to say exactly what was really stolen, but after the rebellion the British viceroy in India made every effort to restore the wonder of the world, spending a lot of money to do so. To prevent this from happening again during World War II, scaffolding was erected around the building, which was able to mask the wonder of the world and it remained intact.
The Settling Palace
To erect the shrine builders built a special platform, which rose to 50 meters above the river. Today, under the influence of natural factors, the Taj Mahal has begun to settle. This causes serious concern to the local authorities, because the shrine is covered with cracks and, according to many experts, it can simply collapse in the near future.
Today, numerous projects are being developed that could stop the destruction of the Taj Mahal, but there is still no consensus on how to preserve the shrine. There is another opinion, some archaeologists argue that there is no serious danger to the preservation of the shrine. According to the results of their research, the building has not settled down much and over the 70 years of observations, its condition has remained satisfactory.
Tourists who come to the Taj Mahal should definitely visit a small local museum. There are unique exhibits gathered here, which have no analogues in the world. The first thing that attracts attention are the ivory portraits of Shah Jahan himself and his wife Mumtaz. The work is very old, but perfectly preserved. Gold and silver coins, drawings, and documents are also on display in the museum.
The most unusual exhibit is considered to be a set of plates made of celadon. According to legend, if poisoned food is put into them, they will immediately change color or even break into small pieces. It is believed that Shah Jahan ate from these plates, who seriously feared his poisoning.
Myths and Legends of the Taj Mahal
There are many myths and legends associated with the history of the Taj Mahal. One of them says that the Mughal ruler brutally dealt with all the architects of the palace, and made the workers sign a paper that they would never take part in the construction of even remotely similar structures. According to historians, this legend may well have been true, for the Shah really dreamed that this creation would remain unrepeatable.
The second legend says that on the opposite bank of the river Jahan wanted to build exactly the same palace, only of black stone. The idea was that these two buildings would symbolize the eternal union of two lovers. He did not have time to do so, for the ruler was overthrown by his own son and imprisoned the great Khan in a dungeon, from the windows of which he spent his life looking at his own creation.
Given the fact that it is still unknown who was actually the author of this temple, Western newspapers have already managed to concoct a legend that the landmark was built according to the project of Italian national Veronio. This legend is based only on the fact that Veronio was visiting India at the time the construction of the mosque began. This statement is very controversial, because the Italian was not even an architect, and his profession was related to the manufacture of jewelry.
Another incredible fiction is associated with this unusual and majestic mosque. One local historian claims that the architectural monument was formerly a temple of the god Shiva, and the Shah conquered it and appropriated it for himself. The author of this theory even sued the Supreme Court to have this wonder of the world listed as a monument of Hinduism, but the court dismissed the claim.
Where is the Taj Mahal – country, city, how to get there
The Mausoleum Mosque is located in India south of the city of Agra in India. You can get to the city by train from Delhi, but then you have to hire a cab. The city with the Taj Mahal is known to every local, so at the station of the capital, anyone can tell you the best train to take. If you want to get to the city in comfort, you can also take a cab from the capital.
As a side note. The water quality here is poor, so only purified bottled water purchased from major stores should be used for drinking. Also beware of pickpockets and crooks who take advantage of the inattention and gullibility of foreigners.
Operating hours of the Taj Mahal
Every year millions of tourists come from all over the world to visit the Taj Mahal mausoleum in India. Some come to admire the unique architecture and to see the unique optical effects created by ancient architects, others come to pray and ask for absolution, prosperity and health.
For tourists, the Taj Mahal is open daily from 6:00 to 19:00. On Friday, only those who come to the service at the mosque can get here, the rest on this holy day for Muslims the doors of the mausoleum are closed.
The best time to visit the mausoleum is considered the 5 days of the full moon. These days, the mausoleum is open to tourists in the evening, and you can visit it until midnight. During the full moon the number of tickets is limited, and you need to buy them well in advance. The shrine is also beautiful in the morning sunlight, so if you don’t get to the mausoleum during the full moon, visit the shrine at dawn.
A ticket to the Taj Mahal is relatively inexpensive, only 750 rupees, children under 15 years of age are completely free. When buying a ticket, worry about the additional fee for photography and videotaping. It costs 25 rupees to take pictures with an ordinary camera or camera.
Lovers of various festivals and exhibitions to the mausoleum is better to come from mid to late February. Every year a craft fair is held in the city of Agra, where the builders of the shrine lived. The festival is dedicated to the culture of the Mughals. Here you can watch the processions with elephants, carnival and buy various souvenirs.