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.
A. The Taj Mahal is unique due to the resplendent beauty in white marble. Even the significance of the Taj Mahal is unique – it is a symbol of love that the Emperor Shah Jehan had for Mumtaz Mahal, his dearest wife.
Q. What are the dimensions of the Taj Mahal?
A. The Taj Mahal measures 240 ft in height or 73 meters high. The length at base is 970 ft. and width is 365 ft. Taj Mahal complex measures 1902 ft. x 1002 ft. on each side length into breadth. The marble platforms on which Taj Mahal stands measures 186 / 186 feet.
Q. Why was the Taj Mahal built?
A. The Taj Mahal was built in memory of the dearest and third wife of Emperor Shah Jehan - Mumtaz Mahal who died during child birth of their fourteenth child. The monument is a mausoleum that holds the last remains of the Emperor’s queen. Later, the emperor was also laid to rest beside the queen.
Q. Why do the gardens symbolize Paradise?
A. The Mughal gardens have Persian influence as in Timurid Gardens with symbolic meanings and functions. It is symbolic and described as “Paradise filled with abundant trees, flowers, and plants: In Paradise, four rivers of water flow from a center point, on a mountain.” This symbolic representation is present in the Charbagh garden system.
Q. Who had the idea to build the Taj Mahal?
A. Emperor Shah Jehan worked as Governor during his father’s term in Ahmadabad where he also constructed a famous architectural structure. It can be said he took idea and training from those structures and got the idea for construction of such a magnificent monument.
Q. How long was its construction?
A.It took over 2 decades to complete the massive construction in Marble before ti was finally unveiled 21 years after. However, the main structure was complete in 17 years and the remaining time was for the decoration part of the monument, etc.
Q. What are the visiting hours of the Taj Mahal and when it remains closed?
A. The Taj Mahal attracts millions of tourists and visitors every year and is open for visiting for 0.5 hours before sunrise and 0.5 hours before sunset for viewing. The Taj Mahal remains closed on all Fridays. It is also open for moon light night view on specific nights.
Q. What are the charges & timings of night viewing of the Taj Mahal?
A.Taj Mahal Night View Entry Fees for Indian Visitors Adult is Rs. 510/- and for Child aged 3 – 15 is Rs. 500/-. For Foreigner Adult it is Rs. 750/- and Child aged 3 – 15 is Rs. 500/-. Free Entry for All Children aged below 3. Taj Mahal Night View Timings are 8.30 PM (Evening) To 12.30 AM (Midnight). Visit DURATION Per Visitor is only 30 minutes.
Q. Where can I get the night viewing tickets from?
A. You can book the Taj Mahal night view at Archaeological Survey of India, 22 Mall Road, Agra
Q. What is the maximum limit for night viewing?
A. There are eight batches where only a maximum of 50 people in each batch are allowed for the night view of Taj Mahal. The total four hours of visiting time is divided into 1/2 hour viewing duration. Maximum 400 visitors are allowed for night view Taj Mahal.
Q. What else is there in Agra to see?
A. In addition to the Taj Mahal there are several other historical structures to view in Agra. This includes the Agra Fort and the structures inside it, tomb of Akbar, the Great Sheesh Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah known as ‘Baby Taj’, and Jama Masjid.
Q. What is the true history of the Taj Mahal?
A. The Emperor wanted to construct a bewitching monument mausoleum for his dearest wife Mumtaz Mahal. After her death during child birth he called architects from the world and planned the massive construction that took 20 years, many elephants, different precious and semi-precious gems and lot of money to finish.
Q. Is the Taj Mahal worth visiting?
A. Yes, it is definitely worth the trip. You may have seen innumerable pictures and stories about the Taj Mahal. But seeing and experiencing it is another thing. It also brings a lot of emotion to the visitor who witness the marble mausoleum monument.
Q. Who originally built the Taj Mahal?
A. The famous marble structure was commissioned by Shah Jahan to be built. He called the famous architects of the world who planned the design and structure of the place.
Q. What type of rock is the Taj Mahal made of?
A. The Taj Mahal is a white marble monument and changes its shades as the day goes by. It also has a surrounding wall with pink / red sandstone outside the Taj. There are also inscriptions and pattern work. Black marble stone and semi-precious stones were also used for this construction.
Q. What is the secret of the Taj Mahal?
A. The Taj Mahal is famous as the monument of love but there are several myths and facts about the Taj Mahal. Many things are also unknown secrets about the Taj Mahal.
Q. Why was the Taj Mahal famous?
A. Taj Mahal is famous for innumerable reasons – it was mainly the time, energy, money, effort and work put to make the monument such a magnificent structure. The monument also earned several titles and continues to. It shows the sophisticated Muslim architecture of those times with influences of Indo - and Persian styles too.
Q. Who designed Taj Mahal?
A.Ustad Isa or Ustad Ahmad Lahouri was the chief architect who was famous during the Mughal times under Emperor Shah Jehan’s rule. He designed and worked with the teams to construct the famous monument of centuries.
Q. Why is Taj Mahal considered a monument of love?
A. The Taj Mahal was built as a symbol of the emperor’s love for his dear wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during child birth of their 14th child. He promised to make a monument of her remembrance and named it Crown Palace.
Q. Is Taj Mahal visible from Agra cantt station?
A. There are certain places around the Taj area from where the Taj Mahal is seen. The onion dome is also visible from very far off places. But the Taj Mahal is not visible from Agra Cantonement Railway station which is 5 – 7 km distance from Taj.
Q. Is the Taj Mahal taller than Qutub Minar?
A.The Qutub Minar – tallest brick minaret in the world measures 72.5 meters or 237.8 ft whereas the mausoleum Taj Mahal measures 73 meters in height or 240 feet. So, this makes the Taj Mahal the taller structure from both of the historical structures.
Q. When The Taj Mahal Was Declared A Winner Of The New7wonders Of The World ?
A. The Taj Mahal was already well known as one of the popular tourist attractions of the world and was also the Seven Wonders of the World. In the 2000 – 2007 new initiative, the Taj Mahal was declared the winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World from 21 shortlisted world sites.
Q. When Was The Taj Mahal Designated As A UNESCO World Heritage Site?
A. The Taj Mahal was designated as a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1983. This was after it was already known as one of the top tourist attractions in India.
Taj Mahal Travel Information
One of the eight wonders of the world, Taj Mahal is an excellent example of magnificent architectural beauty. Falling in the most beautiful monuments built by the Mughals, the unbridled beauty of Taj is immaculate and sways millions of tourists every year. Magnificently built with white marble, it becomes difficult to express its stunning architectural beauty in words. Without a tad of doubt, Taj looks surprisingly beautiful particularly at dawn and sunset.