Taj Mahal, AgraFamous as one of the wonders, the Taj Mahal at Agra, India, is epitome of true love. Taj Mahal was built by the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal. The architectural beauty and magnificence of the Taj Mahal has never been surpassed. The Taj Mahal is said to be the most beautiful monument built by the Mughal rulers and it represents the zenith of the Mughal architecture. Built entirely of white marbles, the beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond description. The beauty of the Taj Mahal has been aptly summarized by the famous English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones."
The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan married Arjumand Banu Begam, better known by the name Mumtaj Mahal, in the year 1612 AD. Mumtaj Mahal was Shah Jahan's second wife. After their marriage, Mumtaj Mahal became her husband's comrade and counselor. Mumtaj Mahal became an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan on all his journeys and military expeditions and an inspiration behind Shah Jahan's acts of charity and benevolence. In the year 1631 the cruel hands of destiny snatched Mumtaj Mahal from Shah Jahan. To immortalize the memory of Mumtaj Mahal, Shah Jahan decided to build a monument of eternal love. This monument of eternal love is none other than the spectacular and magnificence Taj Mahal.
A beautiful location on the banks of the river Yamuna was chosen and the foundation of the Taj Mahal was laid down. The master architect of the Taj Mahal was Ustad Isa. He was one of the most renowned Islamic architects of his time. Taj Mahal, the much-celebrated saga of royal love was brought to life by competent and skilled artisans from places like Delhi, Kannauj, Lahore, Multan, Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara. The construction work of the Taj Mahal began in 1631. More than 20,000 workmen, sculptors and master craftsmen worked painstakingly for 22 years to carve out the most famous symbol of eternal love, the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built entirely in white marbles and the material was brought in from all over India and central Asia. The Taj Mahal complex was finally completed in 1653 at a cost of 32 Million Rupees (approx USD 68000) on the banks of river Yamuna in Agra, the capital of the Mughal monarchs.
The Taj Mahal stands on a raised and square platform with its four corners shortened, forming an unequal octagon. Interlocking arabesque concept is the architectural design that has been used in the construction of the Taj Mahal. In this style each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. The central dome of the Taj Mahal is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet and is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. There are four graceful, slender minarets in the structure of the Taj Mahal. Each of these minarets is 162.5 feet each. Precious gems and stones were used for decoration and calligraphy purposes.
The main archway of the Taj Mahal is a wonder in itself. This archway is chiseled with passages from the Holy Quran and bold scroll work of flowery pattern. The Taj Mahal mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj Mahal stands at the farthest end of the Taj Mahal complex, with the river Yamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center.