There is simply no other greater symbol for the wonderful and mysterious country of India than the Taj Mahal. India by itself is a country of tradition and deep seated culture which has made it one of the most visited nations in the world. That is why it doesn’t really come as a surprise that it is also in India that you will find one of the greatest romantic symbols and gesture of love in the world, which happens to be the Taj Mahal. It is considered to be the crown jewel of art in the Muslim and Indian world.
In the art of architecture, the Taj Mahal is admired and known all over the world amongst artist and scholars as an architectural masterpiece, and simply put, a beautiful work of art. Here is a course called A Brief History of India that gives you a closer look at this magnificent country.
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in 1631 during the period of the Mughal Empire which was one marked of abundance and prosperity. Upon the death of this ruler’s wife named Mumtaz Mahal who herself was a Persian princess, he built the structure housing the main mausoleum as a symbol of his grief, sorrow, and love. The main mausoleum was finished in 1648 while the beautiful gardens and buildings surrounding it were completed five years after. To date, the Taj Mahal, aside from its mysticism and romanticism, is considered as the best example of Mughal Architecture. The Mughal architectural style having the best elements of Islamic, Turkish, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian influences all put together.
One of the Seven Wonders of the World
As one of the UNESCO heritage sites and being part of New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal has millions of tourists visiting it every year. During your visit, expect to be one among the throng of travelers and tourists. Expect for a lot of locals selling their wares of souvenirs and services such as photography and being your tour guide. Be wary and on your guard as there are always quite a number of people and there would be times that there are lapses in security. Going into the complex, motorized vehicles are not allowed and so tourists would have to go on foot or access the complex on the electric bus that is provided within the area. Believe me though, all of this is just worth it.The Taj Mahal complex is open for tourists from six in the morning up until seven in the evening during the weekdays. On Fridays however, take note that it is opened for prayers between twelve noon to two in the afternoon. Try to bring as little things as possible in going to the Taj Mahal as security strictly imposes that you can only bring in transparent water bottles, still camera, cellular phones, video cameras of modest size, and ladies’ small purses. Love to travel? If you do, you will love this course about traveling the world without spending as much.
How to Get There?
The Taj Mahal is in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, in India. From the Indian capital New Delhi, it is about 200 kilometers to travel. Adding to the beauty of the Taj Mahal story is that the city of Agra is given mention in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Getting to Agra, one has to pass through the airport in Mumbai, in Delhi. There are regular flights going to Agra from Mumbai. For the international traveler, it is good to note that flights to Agra are usually efficient and come on time. Love to travel? Here is an article called Travel Hacking for Beginners that could help get you places.
The mere size of the Taj Mahal in all its magnificence and glory against the beautiful background of the Indian skies during the different times of the day is enough to take your break away. But looking further into the entire structure, one can see how intricate and how detailed the craftsmanship really is. Again, as the finest example of Mughal architecture, you can see the beauty crafted from the application of paint and color, the use of stucco, the stone inlays, and the numerous intricacies of the carvings all around the building. Calligraphy is abundantly found all around its decorative elements. You will also see all throughout the Complex quotes and passages from the Qur’an being used as elements for decoration. For the minarets, gateway, and the mosque, an abstract art form was used.
What is even more amazing are the decorative elements in the inner chamber. Here, the inlay being used is not only pietra dura, but a pattern made of precious and semiprecious gemstones. And of course now, the inner chamber holds the remains of the Persian princess Mumtaz Mahal for whom the Taj Mahal was built for, and her husband, the great lover Shah Jahan.
The Mughal styled gardens are on a three hundred meter square expanse of land. A raised water tank in the center of the garden located in between the tomb and the chambers gateways houses a reflecting pool which mirrors and reflects the glory of the mausoleum. Around the garden, rows of trees and fountains are adorned. Here is an article about interesting facts about India that gives you more information about its rich cultural landscape.
And If That Wasn’t Enough…
With the beauty and magnificence as well as the romantic history of the Taj Mahal, it is no wonder that it plays host to the millions of visitors that visit it every year. Here are some key facts you may want to remember during your visit.
- Estimates have put together that about 22000 laborers were commissioned to build this building.
- Legend says that the Emperor Shah Jahan had it in his plan to create a Taj Mahal using black marble on the other side of the river.
- At different times of the day, the white color of the Taj Mahal takes on different colors. In the morning, it has a pinkish glow. In the evening, it turns into a creamy white color. At night, it appears to be golden as it is lit by the moon. Isn’t it just mesmerizing?
- The four sides of the building were made identically. This makes for an amazing mirror image on every side.
- Adorned by precious stones, it was subject to theft by the British during the1857 Indian rebellion.
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