A visit to the Taj – finally !!
On Thursday, Tania, myself and the girls went to see the Taj.
For Tania, this was the ??th time she’d been to see it whereas it was my first – sad I know. Living here over two years and still I haven’t been to see it.
I’m glad to have finally seen it for myself – the building is amazing and quite beautiful.
The Taj Mahal is a huge white marble mausoleum built in Agra between the years 1631 and 1648, by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to her fourteenth child.
The main architect was a man by the name of Ustad-Ahmad Lahori. He strived in giving the construction maximum strength and stability to the tomb and worked out the minute details with utmost precision. The weight of the entire structure is uniformly distributed and extraordinarily massive piers and vaults were constructed to support this heavy load.
As part of that uniform distribution, there are two red sandstone buildings at either sides of the Taj- they are precise mirror images of each other. The western building is a mosque and the other is the jawab (answer), whose primary purpose was architectural balance.
For its construction, masons, stone-cutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the Mughal empire and also from Central Asia and Iran.
Our guide mentioned that the gold and jewels that once adorned the Taj were removed by the British and distributed amongst the officer class. Gotta love the Brits !!
There are stories that Shah Jahan wanted to build a “Black Taj” across the river (a mirror of the white Taj). He didn’t get around to it as he was overthrown by his youngest son, Aurangzeb and died under house arrest at the Red Fort in Agra.
He was eventually buried in the Taj, to the left of his beloved wife.
The actual burial chamber is located on the basement of the Taj – what you see on the ground floor is an exact replica of what’s directly below.
The photos I’ve taken don’t do it justice but I hope you like them:
|Looking across the Yamuna River to the site of the "Black Taj"|
|The Jawab - located to the East|
|The real tombs on the lower ground level|