Taj Mahal

The Seven Wonders of World are the Great Wall of China, Machu Pichu in Peru, Mexicos Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, the Colosseum in Rome, Petra in Jordan and Brazils statue of Christ. And India got this pride by Taj Mahal – Symbol of Love – love of a great ruler for his beloved queen. An amazing poetic and magnificence structure, Taj Mahal, if any poet sees this wonder he can’t stop himself to write a beautiful poem about love. At night, when the silver light from the moon fall on the white marble of the dome, the Taj wears its real beauty. The radiance of the sun at dawn and the crimson glow of sunset also drape it with sublime beauty. In bright daylight too, this seventh wonder of the world stuns the visitors with its awesome beauty. Pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden under moonlight, the change in colours is believed to depict the varied moods of a woman.

Taj Mahal was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his favorite wife Arjumand Bano Begum who is better known as Mumtaz Mahal. The title Shah Jahan, which means “King of the World”, was granted to the Prince Khurram in honor of his military victories by his father Emperor Jehangir. Shah Jahan, the fifth son of Jehangir, ascended the throne in 1628 after a series of succession wars with his brothers. Mumtaz Mahal as the name indicates, the beauty of the queen is compared with the light of heaven. Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1630 while giving birth to her fourteenth child, secured a promise from her husband to build the most beautiful mausoleum in the world in memory of their love. So this mausoleum was built in Agra.

Esstablished by Badal Singh in 1475, Agra finds mention in the Mahabharata as Agraban. Agra became an important city when the Lodhi Kings made Agra their capital city. After the Lodhis the Mughals came which heralded a new era. Agra reached its zenith during the reign of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It was during Akbar’s period that Agra became the center of art, culture and commerce and learning. This trend reached its height when Shah Jahan became the ruler. In the mid 16th century and earlier 17th century along with a lot of other buildings the symbol of love Taj Mahal was built after the labour of 22 years. It is made of mostly white marble, Taj Mahal is located about 1.5 KM from the Agra Fort on the right bank of river Jamuna. Besides white marble, red sandstone, jasper, jade, crystal and sapphire were also used in the monument. Construction of Taj Mahal started in 1632 and completed in 1648. Some twenty thousand laborers are estimated to have been employed to build the tomb. The laborers were provided with accommodation in Mumtazabad town, which is now known as Taj Ganj. Construction of this monument cost Shah Jahan about 32 Million Rupees. This marble wonder or a symbod oflove was designed by Uspad h-a` Lahaura n@ Amanat Kha Shar@za was its CaDl)gpaphar. he ve`ss oj the toabtgne were designed by Pket Ghyasuddin. The dome was made by Ismail Khan Afridi of Turkey. Muhammad Hanif was the superintendent of masons.

The monument stands on a raised platform with four minarets at each of the corners. The minarets are 41.6 m high and have a slant outwards. It is believed that the minarets were designed to slant deliberately to prevent them from falling on the tomb in an unlikely event of an earthquake. The central dome is 187 feet high. The tomb is encased in white marble with immaculate sculptures and inlaid designs of flowers and calligraphy cut from precious gems. The inlay work is done with such finesse that it is impossible to detect a seam. The calligraphy is done in a style called ‘trompe l’oeil’ which creates a decorative illusion. The mausoleum also has a lofty central chamber, a crypt and four octagonal corner rooms. The four corner rooms were intended to house the graves of other members of the royal family. The cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal stands in the center and has the Persian inscription. There are two Mosques and an imposing gateway on the left and right side of the Taj Mahal. The Mosque on the left side is made of red sandstone and is used for Friday prayers. The Mosque on the right side is known as Jawab. Prayers are not held in Jawab as it faces west and away from Mecca. In the cmplex of the Taj Mahal has a fabulous garden with fountains and ornamental trees. Today Agra is a major tourist destination in India. Tourist Timings is 6:00AM- 7:30PM everyday, except on Fridays.
 How to Reach Taj Mahal

By Air: Indian Airlines (Domestic Airline in India) runs daily flights from Delhi to Agra. Kheria Airport (Airport of Agra) is about 6 km from the Agra city centre and is easily accessible by taxis and auto-rickshaws at nominal rates.

By Rail: Agra is well connected by excellent train services to Delhi such as The Shatabdi Express (2 hrs), Taj Express (2.5 hrs), Intercity Express (3 hrs).

By Road: Express bus services (a/c and non-a/c) are available from Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gwalior, and Jhansi. It is located 58km from Mathura.
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