Exciting and Incredible Journey to the Taj Mahal


I am one of those people who find it quite fulfilling to travel and discover what the world has to offer. While doing research on one of the places that I should visit before I kicked the bucket, I realized that the Taj Mahal was one of the attractions that drew millions of visitors from all over the world and made up my mind that that was where I was going to go. This is a white marble mausoleum that is found in India (Agra, Uttar Pradesh). The journey to the site was completely worthwhile as I got to explore the site recognized as jewel of Muslim art in India as well as of the most admired masterpiece universally of the globe’s heritage. Some of the things that stunned me about the place include:

Its rich history

The guide I was working with was kind enough to let me in on the history of the Taj Mahal which started after Shah Jahan in 1963 was grief stricken after he lost his 3rd wife when she was delivering their 14th child. Its construction started in 1632. The court chronicles illustrate his grief a love story that were an inspiration of the mausoleum. The main building was completed in 1648 while the garden and the surroundings were completed 5 years later.

taj mahalt - the tomb

The tomb

This is the main focus of Taj Mahal a large white marble structure that stands on square plinth and also consists of symmetrical building with an arch shaped doorway (iwan) topped by finial and large dome. The basic elements are Persian. The marble dome which surmounts the tomb has some of the most spectacular features. Its height is around 115 ft which is the same length as the base. Many tourist from all over the world throng the place.It is also accentuated sitting on a cylindrical drum that is roughly 23 ft high. Because its shape, it is often known as guava dome or onion dome.

Exterior decoration

On my tour here, i was particularly impressed with the exterior decoration that got me staring for a very long time as I had never seen something like that before. Its exterior decoration is among the finest of all Mughal’s architecture. All the decorations are reined proportionally as the surface area changes. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stone inlays, stucco and carvings. These can be grouped into abstract forms, calligraphy or vegetative motifs in line with the prohibition of anthromorphic forms according to the Islam culture.

Interior decoration

It would be not be fair to leave out the interior decoration that is simply out of this world. Taj Mahal’s interior chamber is a step beyond the traditional decorative elements. The inlay work is a lapidary of both precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon that magically allows entry from each of its faces. The interior walls are about 82 ft high and are topped with “false” interior dome that is decorated with a gorgeous sun motif. 8 pishtaq arches are used to define the ground level space. Light enters the building from balcony screens as well as roof openings that are covered with chattris at all corners.

octagon - the garden of Taj Mahal

Garden

If it were possible, I would probably spend my life in this garden as it was one of my travel highlights. This is where the complex is set and it uses raised pathways that divide it into 16 flowerbeds. There is an incredible raised marble water tank that is right at the center of the garden halfway between the gateway and tomb with reflecting pool on the NS (North South) axis which reflects the mausoleum’s image. Elsewhere the garden is also laid out with avenues of fountains and trees. I later discovered that the garden used to look more beautiful before the British took over during the British Empire changing the landscape to resemble lawns in London.

The surroundings of the mausoleum are also something to write home about as it is bound by red sandstone walls that are crenellated with rivers facing side left wide open. Outside this are additional mausoleums. It is without doubt that the Taj Mahal is one of the things that boosts Tourism in Agra and for a very good reason at this as it makes the trip really worthwhile.


August 4, 2014

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