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Home Taj Mahal Travel Guide Taj Mahal Architecture

Taj Mahal Travel Guide

Taj Mahal Architecture

Taj Mahal, Agra Tours & TravelsThe city of Agra is world famous for the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife. However, it is also famous for the Agra Fort, which is a veritable treasure trove of the Mughal architectural tradition. The various buildings within this sprawling fort complex represent the assimilation of different cultures, which was the mark of the Mughal period.

MUGHAL STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE
The structure of Taj Mahal adheres to the Islamic style (Mughal style) of architecture, which flourished in India during the medieval period. The Islamic style of architecture is also referred to as the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. This magnificent monument is set around a Charbagh or ‘four garden’ plan, which is split by watercourses - a reflection of the Persian style. The Taj Mahal itself is not set within the Charbagh but is located towards the far end of the enclosure near the bank of river Yamuna.

Taj Mahal is built on a high plinth, which has four tapering minarets at each corner. At the center of this plinth is an octagonal structure comprising of a central hall, with four smaller halls grouped around it. A central bulbous dome stands atop the roof of the Taj that is surrounded by four chhatris (domed canopy, supported by pillars, mainly seen in Hindu or local monuments and sometimes in Islamic buildings). The Taj Mahal is a two-storied structure, each having arched recesses with a highly decorated iwan in the middle. The tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shahjahan are actually located in the basement, while their replicas are placed directly above in the upper hall.

The Taj Mahal is entirely made of white marble and its pure white walls are decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work. It is said that different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on Taj Mahal.

In spite of its massive proportions, Taj Mahal looks weightless and airy. Each section of this unique monument blends harmoniously with each other to create a perfect unit. The Taj Mahal and the gardens in front of it can be approached through an arched gateway.

TAJ MAHAL - THE GATEWAY
Fort, Agra TourismThe garden according to the holy Koran is symbolic of paradise. As Islam was born in the arid region of Arabia, the vision of a lush green, well-laid out and watered garden came to be associated with life and paradise. In the course of time green became symbolic of Islam. Muslims also venerate water because it was scare in the Arabian Desert- the birthplace of Islam. According to Islam there are four rivers in paradise one each of water, milk, wine and honey. The concept of these four rivers flowing through the garden of paradise led to the Charbagh style of garden planning.

Leaving the entrance gateway you can see a sprawling garden in front of you, which goes all the way up to the plinth of the Taj Mahal. The beauty of the Taj Mahal is accentuated by the garden laid out in the Persian Charbagh (four garden plan) style. The entire area of the Taj complex is 580 m (1,902 ft) by300 m (984 ft), while the garden alone makes up an area of 300 m (984 ft) by 300 m (984 ft).

The Mughals originated from the arid regions of Central Asia. They never quiet lost their longing for water and often created well laid out gardens with canals and different waterworks. In the course of time they started building tombs, which were located at the center of beautiful gardens. The Taj Mahal has an impressive watercourse, which neatly divides the garden into four equal parts and heightens the flawless symmetry of the entire complex.

TAJ MAHAL - THE MAUSOLEUM
The central path within the garden leads you to the Taj Mahal, which is placed on a high plinth (platform). The plinth is 6.7 m (21.98 ft) high and covers an area of 95 sq m (1,022.57 square feet). A double staircase facing the entrance to the tomb is the only way, which takes you on top of it. This plinth or pedestal is an ideal place from where you can have a panoramic view of the surroundings, which includes the lush green Charbagh in the front and the riverfront at the backside. From here, you can also admire the white towering structure of the Taj.

There are four elegant tapering minarets, one on each corner of the plinth. Each of the minarets is 41.6 m (136.48 ft) high and is capped by a small cupola. The minarets, not only balance the main structure of the mausoleum, but are also placed in such a way that in case of a mishap, they do not fall over the main edifice. Each pillar has a letter written on it, which put together spell the word ar-rahman (all merciful) - one of the many names of Allah.

The main structure of the Taj Mahal is square and is beveled at its corners. Each side of the Taj Mahal is 56.6 m (185.69 ft) long. On each facade arched recesses arranged in two stories flank a high iwan in the center. The top border of the iwan on each side rises higher than the rest of façade, thus concealing the neck of the dome behind it.


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