Taj Mahal | All About Its Architecture
Taj Mahal is a beautiful monument built on the bank of yamuna river in agra. It was built as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The monument include a mosque and a guest house along with a garden which surrounds the monument from three sides. Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the main architect of Taj Mahal. The monument begun in 1632 and finished in 1648. It is said that more than 22,000 workers were involved in the construction. Artisians and materials from all over India came for its construction. The Taj is a combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian Architecture. Other structure included in the Taj are garden, mosqe, main gateway and the tomb.
Taj Mahal Architecture
Taj Mahal is constructed in an area of 42 acres with the terrain gradually sloping from south to north. The main building stands on a platform having a height of 50 meters above the riverbank. The four minars have the height of 137 feet each while the height of the tomb is 58 meters. There is a garden covering the area of 580 meters by 300 meters. The construction of garden is Islamic style.
Materials and Methods
Involvement of 22,000 workers including mason, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisians called on from all over the central Asia and Iran, and some 22 year later when a monument with a unique blend of Persian, Islamic, and Indian architecture styles came into its own, it was a sight to behold. The grandeur of the structure then created was such that even decades after the creation, it is still regarded as one of the most arresting and attention-grabbing manmade monuments of the world.
Taj Mahal Calligraphy
The calligraphy done is one of the fabulous ornamental decorations done on the surface of Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal always welcome each of its visitors with an inscription, written in beautiful handwritting. The calligraphy mainly consist of verses and passages from the Holy book of Quran. It was done by inlaying jasper in the white marble panels. Black marble has been used to decorate both the south gateway and the main mausoleum with Arabic inscriptions. The texts chosen refer broadly to the themes of judgment and fruitful paradisiacal rewards for the faithful. The inscriptions over the gateway invite the reader to enter the paradise. And as one enters toward the main mausoleum, the tone of the inscriptions changes from paradisiacal to that of an impending doom that awaits the unbelievers on the day of Judgement.
Taj Mahal Main Gateway
The main gateway of Taj Mahal is 30 meters high. Situated at the end of the long watercourse, decorated in calligraphy with verses from Holy Quran . The main gateway is a tall niche doorway in a shape of an ogival arch that rises till the mid-height of the structure. The topmost part of the gateway includes chhatris. The original door of this massive sandstone gateway was made out of solid silver. It was constructed to serve the function of preventing the people from getting any glimpse of the tomb until they are right in the doorway itself. With a vertical symmetry, the main gateway of Taj Mahal stands bordered with Arabic calligraphy of verses from the Quran, made up of black stone.
Taj Mahal Garden
The garden starts from the end of main gateway and ends near squared base of the mausoleum of Taj Mahal. Out of the total area of 580 meter by 300 meter of the taj complex, these gardens alone cover an area of 300 meter by 300 meter distance and are based on geometric arrangements of nature.The garden that beautifies Taj comes from Persian Timurid style of gardens, based on the concept of paradise garden and was brought in by babur. The garden is divided into sixteen flower beds and is seperated by water courses. The entire garden is divided into four parts, with two marble canals studded with fountains crossing in the center. In each quarter portion, there are 16 flowerbeds that have been divided by stone-paved raised pathways. It is said that each of the flowerbed was planted with 400 plants. The entire monument, especially the garden of the Taj Mahal is the usage of number four and its multiple. Since four is considered the Holiest number in Islam. Taj Mahal occupies the north-end corner of the garden, instead of being in the center.
After crossing the garden, people reach the tomb which covers the area of 95 square meter. The main tomb of Taj Mahal stands on a square platform that was raised 50 meter above the riverbank and was leveled with the dirt to reduce seepage from the river. The four minarets on each corner of this square are detached, facing the chamfered angles of the main and are deliberately kept 137 feet to emphasize the beautiful and spherical dome that itself is 58 feet in diameter and 81 feet high. The minarets are made in such a way that they will not fall on the main tomb during a mishap or a natural calamity. The tomb is based on Islamic structure which symbolizes the unifiaction of heaven and earth. The square on which the tomb stands symbolizes the universe.
The western side of the main tomb has a mosque and on the eastern side is the naqqar khana . both are made in red sandstone. The two structures not only provides an architectural symmetry, but also make for an aesthetic color contrast. The two are mirror image of each other. Historians believes that the mosque was constructed by isa muhammad. There are two small arches on both sides of the mosque and the portal on the exterior known as Iwan. The three domes are four kiosks are coated with marble. The interiors of the mosque are also well-designed as 569 prayer mats have been designed on the floor and the walls are engraved with the names of allah and verses of the Holy Quran. There is a pool in front of the mosque where the muslims perform abultion before prayers.