The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble Islamic mausoleum. One of the greatest monuments of all times built in marble – the Taj Mahal, a symbol of love for a Great Emperor to his beloved wife is set amidst beautiful gardens on the banks of the River Yamuna. It took 20,000 workers, many elephants, precious stones, gems, a huge amount of gold and Mughal wealth to construct this mausoleum constructed over 20 years.
History of Taj Mahal
Constructed in white marble during the 1600 this most famous mausoleum by the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jehan (1627 – 1658).
The emperor named it Taj Mahal meaning the Crown of Palaces or Crown Palace but was initially called Roza-e-Munawara.
This simply translates to Unique Building. It has earned several titles as the best tomb ever built, Seven Wonders of the World, 7 Wonders in India, a World Heritage Building (1983) and the most visited monument in the world annually.
A renowned architect of those times called Usatad Ahmed Lahori lead the construction of this beautiful white marble monument. The masons, workers and others who were involved in building this structure were brought in from various parts of the world including Italy, France, Turkey, parts of Asia and even Armenia. It took over 2 decades to complete this great construction of pure white marble and over 30 types of expensive precious and semi-precious stones. There is calligraphy on the resting place and the exterior of Taj done with black marble. The pillars slant outwards so that they fall outwards if they ever fall.
This marble monument is symbolic to the love of the emperor to his dearest wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died during child birth of their fourteenth child. He decided to build this monument for her and get buried beside her even though he had several wifes. The last days of the emperor were spend in a prison in Agra Fort from where he got a good view of the Taj Mahal and he spend his last days admiring his great construction. Tagore correctly described the Taj as “a teardrop on the face of eternity.”
Why Taj Mahal Is Famous As Wonders Of The World?
In the year 1983 this marble marvel was accredited with the title of World Heritage Building by UNESCO and earlier it was known as the Seven Wonders of the World and retained this prestigious title even in 2001 – 2007 initiative shortlisted from among 21 greatest sites all over the world.
Reasons To Visit Taj Mahal
There are several reasons to visit the Taj Mahal in addition to sightseeing.
1. Taj Mahotsav, Shilpagram
There is a ten day long Mela or fair held for visitors, shopping, sellers from all over the country and talented artisans at Shilpagram, the eastern Gate of Taj Mahal. There are many culture programs, artists, and also handlooms to see here. You can also taste various cuisine from all corners of the country including the famous Mughalai cuisine of Mughal era.
The Taj complex also has a museum showcasing the original plans of the Taj Mahal structure, samples of the stones / materials used to construct the Taj, inlay specimen, etc. here. It is situated on the western side to the Taj Mahal Entrance gate. It consists of two floors building with a main hall and 3 galleries and was established in the year 1982.
The Taj Mahal is surrounded by beautiful gardens all around. The idea was introduced by the first Mughal Emperor Babar influenced by Persian garden styles. Many events are held here in the Mehtab Bagh that is famous also for providing the Best View of the Taj Mahal.
The best time to visit the Taj Mahal is during winter months as it does not rain and it is not too hot. However, people visit this marble monument throughout the year in bad weather too.
November to March: End of monsoons and it is cooler compared to summer and most visitors enjoy this season to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. December and January are the coldest months. Temperatures dip to even 2 degree Celsius take warm clothing.
April to July: The start of summer months such as February is okay and people can take the bright sun. During March – April it gets scorching hot. Even during summer months people love to visit the dazzling white Taj Mahal. Wear cotton light clothes, a hat and high SPF sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
August to October: It is almost impossible to move around in India during monsoons as roads also get flooded. People still visit Taj Mahal throughout the year and you still wish to carry an umbrella and view the Taj.
By Air: Only Air India flights are available at the Kheria Airport in Agra which is 13 kilometers distance from the city Agra. You can fly to Delhi and then take a local flight to Agra which is not even an hour’s journey.
By Train: Agra is well connected to major cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Jhansi, Gwalior, Kolkatta, Chennai, etc. The closest Railway Stations are: Agra Cantt Station (Main Railway Station) and Agra Fort Railway Station.
By Road: If you wish to drive then the drive time also depends on traffic and highway and varies from 1.5 hours to 5 hours respectively.
By Bus: There are buses connecting Agra to major cities - Lucknow, Kanpur, Delhi, Jaipur, and Gwalior. The two main inter-state bus terminals in Agra are: ISBT – 12 kilometers distance from Taj Mahal and Idgah Bus Stand - 8 kilometers distance from Taj Mahal (Central)
Reflection of the Taj Mahal in the River Yamuna. It was built on banks of River Yamuna but the waters are almost dried up now.
Nearby Attractions of Taj Mahal
Agra is known all over the world as the city with the beautiful marble structure and Symbol of Love called the Taj Mahal. But there are other UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you should visit when you visit the town of Agra. The marble monument in white takes various hues during different times of the day as the sunrays falls on it.
It is a different experience when you see the Sunrise Taj and Sunset view of Taj Mahal. The Mughal emperor Shah Jehan built this for the third wife when she died during child birth of their fourteenth child. It was famous as the Seven Wonders of the World but is also now a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This massive defense fort was the residence for many generations of Mughal rulers. There are various famous historical structures in Agra that are located here. This massive palace was re-made using red sandstone over the banks of River Yamuna during the Mughal rule. Auranzeb the successor of Emperor Shah Jehan moved the beautiful peacock throne from Agra Fort to Delhi. There are several pavilions, mosque and palace residences inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Agra.
This can be said as a City walled inside a fort. The entrance of the fort is famously called Buland Darwaza that translates to the Victory Gate. This is made with red sandstone also one of the largest entrances in the world. The city has architectural style of both Rajput and Mughal. Inside, you can find various palaces, mosques, tomb of Salim Cishti, a Sufi saint in the village Sikri, and also the Palace of Jodha Bai, Akbar’s wife. This is one of the top historical sites in India and is recognize as UNESCO World Heritage Site which you must visit.
This is the final resting place of one of the most important emperor during Mughal era – Emperor Akbar. It is a combination of various architecture – Western, Indo, Budhist, and Perisain. The great emperor designed and oversaw the construction of his own tomb as per the Tartary doings. It is made from marble and red sandstone but was later reconstructed in entire marble after it’s destruction. The two daughters of Akbar are also laid to rest eternally here in this tomb.
This monument is a lesser known than the Taj but is important for many reasons. It is also called as Baby Taj. The tomb of Mirza Gheyas Baig was the first ever Mughal monument to be constructed on the banks of the famous River Yamuna. It is also the first monument of the Mughal era to utilize a big amount of parchinkari method for multiple colored stone inlays. The lattice work on this monument is ornate and very intricate that gives it a delicate look of this tomb.
The Taj Mahal is surrounded by beautiful gardens all around. The river Yamuna had beautiful pleasure gardens where the Mughal kings would rest and spend time. The idea for gardens was first introduced by the Mughal Emperor Babar influenced by Persian garden styles. This is the last one of the 11 such garden series he built. Many events are held here in the Mehtab Bagh that is famous also for providing the Best View of the Taj Mahal.