Friday, 9 September 2016

Taj Mahal: Epitome of Love

One of the seven wonders of world, Taj Mahal is an ivory white monument, enacting the saga of eternal love and the grandeur of Mughal architecture.Rabrindranath Tagore describes it as "Teardrop on the cheek of eternity", whereas Rudyard Kipling describes it as "the embodiment of all things pure" while its creator, Shah Jahan says it made "the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes". Every year more than twice the population of entire Agra city visits this world heritage sight to take a glimpse at this mausoleum of love.

The Taj Mahal a marvel on marble was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in commemoration of his favorite wife Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Shahjahan married Arjumand Bano Begum, daughter of Itimad-ul-Daula, the Wazir of Emperor Jahangir in 1612 A.D. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 A.D. at the birth of her 14th child. The grief stricken emperor made all efforts in building the tomb in her memory, which is universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful creations on the earth. After his death in 1666 A.D., Shah Jahan was also buried alongside Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved wife in Taj Mahal.
Artisans were requisitioned from all over the empire, including Central Asia and Iran. While bricks for the internal framework were locally made whereas white marble for external surface where brought from Makrana, Rajasthan. The inscription on northern fa├žade records 1057A.H.(1647 A.D.) as the date of its completion in 17 years at the cost of about rupees four crores at a time when gold was sold at Rs. 15 per tola. Shehab-Ud-Din-Muhammad Shah Jahan, the grandson of Emperor Akbar had an aesthetic sense for architecture and under his age Mughal architecture reached its zenith. It is believed that Ustad Ahmad Lahoriwas the chief of project while Ustad Isa Afandi prepared the site plan for Taj Mahal. Amanat Ali Khan Shirazi is known for his calligraphic work and Ran Mal the garden designer from Kashmir.
The plan of Taj Mahal display strict bilateral symmetry. The central point is the tomb and its four minarets flanked by a mosque and assembly hall (Mehman Khana). The Taj is exactly as high as its width. A highlight of the monument is the exquisitely carved pietra dura inlaid with semi-precious stones.The color of the translucent marble keeps changing from dawn to midnight giving it a magical aura in keeping with Shah Jahan’s vision that the tomb and its surrounding garden resembles paradise on earth. It is a unique man-made manifestation of the glorious age.

Every Friday Taj Mahal is closed so plan your visits as per.Rest of the days it is open from sunrise to sunset.Only 5 days a month the monument is open at night, on the full moon night and 2 days before and after that expect Friday.There are three gates to enter namely the Western gate, Eastern gate and Southern gate.The best time to travel Agra is during the winters as it has moderate temperature and clear weather.

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