As one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is famed not only across India, but the world.
The beauty and mystique of Moghul emperor Shah Jahan’s breathtaking legacy have been captivating travelers for centuries.
Alas, not much about this grandiose masterpiece has found home in the mind of an average traveler.
It took 22 years and around 22000 people to build this stone embodiment of love. It is said that over 1000 elephants were used to transport necessary construction materials and it cost over 32 million of Indian Currency to build Taj Mahal at the time of construction.
28 different varieties of stones were brought from different parts of Asia, like marbles from Rajasthan, blue stones from Tibet, emerald from Sri Lanka, jasper from Punjab, and crystals from China. They were inlaid into the white marbles that were used to construct the architecture of Taj Mahal.
The pillars around the main monument were built to slant away from monument slightly in order to protect the main monument if the pillars ever collapsed due to natural disasters, like earthquakes.
The main dome of the Taj Mahal has Quran verses carved on it. The verses have been engraved so that they look equal in size when observed from below. On either sides of Mumtaz’s grave, 99 names of Allah are also carved.
The Mixture Of Styles
Four different architectural styles were used in Taj Mahal: Persian, Turkish, Indian and Islamic.
This amazing love monument is perfectly symmetrical in every way, except when it comes to the actual tombs of the Shah and his love. The male tomb had to be larger than the female tomb.
A Vision In Black
Allegedly, Shah Jahan wanted to construct an identical Black Taj Mahal on the other side of the river but he couldn’t make it happen after being imprisoned by his own son, Aurangazeb. The base of the black-marble building can still be seen across the river.
The Real Graves
The actual graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz are not visible to the public, as they are situated underground. The tombs are placed 7 feet below the surface and are locked behind a metal door, so the visitors get to see just a façade below which the tombs are kept.
It’s said that Shah Jahan had ordered to cut off the hands of all workers immediately after the construction of Taj Mahal, because he didn’t want anyone recreating anything similar anywhere in the world. It is also said that he took out their eyes, killed them… However, nobody has been able to prove this, and it’s probably a myth. The workers surely had to sign a contract of some sort, though.
The color of Taj Mahal appears to change depending on the time of the day. It appears pink in the morning, white during the day, and golden in the moonlight.