Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a pilgrimage for lovers. With its spellbinding beauty and rich historical backdrop, Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Get acquainted with some essential facts about Taj Mahal if you have planned a visit to this white beauty this vacation.
Top 20 Interesting Facts About Taj Mahal
1. Crown Of Palaces
The Taj Mahal literally translates to 'Crown of Palaces' in English. It is the greatest masterpiece created ever by the Mughals who have built many magnificent structures. So, it is referred to as Taj Mahal meaning Palace Crown. This marble monument is a well known UNESCO World Heritage Site and also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was also commissioned New 7 Wonders of the World during initiative 2000 - 2007.
2. Symbol Of Love
The real reason why the Taj Mahal, a marble monument or mausoleum is known as the Symbol of Love is famous. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan dearly loved his third wife who died during child birth. So, he decided and commissioned a grand and beautiful monument that is preserved for centuries. He made the monument in love of his wife. This is the reason why the Taj Mahal earned such a world famous title called Symbol of Love.
3. It Wasn't Built In A Day!
Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned a marble monument as a symbol of love to his beloved third wife after she died giving birth to their 14th child in 1632. It only started then but the epic work to complete this took 21 long years finally done in in 1653. the mausoleum took around 6 - 7 years for completion as it was done in the years 1638 - 39. The pillars around the Taj Mahal that slant outwards so it does not fall on the mausoleum if they fall, were finally completed in the year 1643. The inlays and decorations, etc. artistry work went on till at least 1647 and completed in 1653.
4. The Man Who Sold Taj Mahal!
There was a man who claimed to sell the Taj Mahal. He did this more than once. He 'sold' the marble monument saying he was the amortized person to sell the monument and sold it more than once. He went by the name of Natwarlal and his real name is believed to be Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava.
5. The Yamuna River As Its Savior
The River Yamuna is the savior of the Taj Mahal as it helps to keep the marble structure moist and strong. The foundations are done with timber and without the river, the structure would have eroded earlier. So, the moisture from the River Yamuna keeps the Taj Mahal moist all the year around. Thus, the River Yamuna is also the Savior of the Taj Mahal.
6. The Architect Behind This Beauty
The main architect behind the amazing Taj Mahal is Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. It is a mixture of Persian, Islamic and Indian, Islamic and Persian style of architecture. He was a famous Persian architect during those times. Earlier there was a myth that a western architect was called in to design the amazing architecture of the Taj Mahal. However, it turned out to be a myth and the real architect behind the beautiful Taj Mahal is Ustad Ahmed Lahauri.
7. A Costly Monument
The Taj Mahal cost the Mughals a fortune and they also lost a lot of money for the construction of Taj Mahal. It is believed to be constructed with 32 million INR which is now valued at roughly 52.8 billion during present times. Most of the money of the king and emperor of the Mughal Dynasty was over constructing the massive architectural marble monument of the Taj Mahal. It took so much expensive construction materials, several kinds of precious stones from around the world, and a massive workforce to built this costly monument.
7. A Humongous Workforce
The Taj was a mighty monument that required a massive workforce to complete the construction. Still, it took over two decades to finish it. The emperor employed over 20,000 workers from across the continents of Asia and Europe. It included workers from different countries such as Europe, Persia, India and also workers from the Ottoman Empire. The final decorations of the Taj Mahal went on till the year 1647.
8. The Mysterious Color Change!
It is a well known fact about the changing hues of the marble monument. The white reflects the different light of the day. So there are incredible views at different times of the day. Early morning it is Grey and misty. Then from soft yellow in the early morning sun rays it changes to cream ivory color. Then the marble dazzles in the white color in the blazing sun. Some believe the changing colors also showsa woman's changing moods specifically the Emperor's queen!.
9. A Colossal Monument
The massive monument is spread across 42 acres spreading from south to north. It is also taller than the tallest minar in the world - Qutub Minar. It is surrounded by formal gardens around and constructed on the banks of river Yamuna. While the main dome measures the height of 240 ft the corner 4 minarets are 130 ft. Roughly, you can say the Taj Mahal is as high as a present day building consisting of 20 stories.
10. Myths about Taj Mahal
There are several myths about the Taj Mahal. This is one of the famous beliefs that emperor Shah Jahan ordered for the hands of the workers of the Taj Mahal to be chopped off! This is because he does not require them to built another great monument. However, this is only one of the myths about Taj!
11. It's Basically A Mausoleum!
The burial place in the Taj Mahal includes the tombs of the Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor's was the larger tomb where as the smaller is of the queen. The Taj Mahal is basically a monument over the tombs inside. It is also inscribed with several verses and passages in Arabic. These are done using marble stone.
12. The Taj Mahal Is Sinking!
The foundation of timber required constant supply of moisture which was provided by the River Yamuna. However, there is a time when the Yamuna river gradually dries up which will then be a serious issue as the Taj Mahal may go sinking. However, during recent decades the government has taken measures to ensure that the Taj Mahal is well preserved in all ways with various safety measures.
13. Precious Stones Stolen
The Taj Mahal had several precious stones from around the world. Several of them are missing over the centuries. During rebellions and battles some precious stones and walls were robbed by miscreants and even placed in other buildings or monuments. It is also said that during the rebellion of 1857 the Britishers ripped off several precious stones from the walls of the Taj Mahal.
14. The Black Taj Mahal!
It is believed that Emperor, Shah Jahan planned to construct another mausoleum for himself - a Black Taj Mahal. His son imprisoned him so he was unable to make such a monument. He got buried at the same marble structure he made for his wife - Mumtaz beside her tomb. People also believed this was too be constructed in the opposite side of the white Taj Mahal across the River Yamuna. They believed he would connect both the monuments with a bridge!
15. The Pillars Are Inclined Outwards
The Taj is in the center of four pillars measuring 130 ft in height. It is constructed in such a way so that the pillars will fall outwards if any earthquake or it is moved. So the four pillars do not stand straight as they are inclined outwards to fall outside of the main tomb.
16. Calligraphy of Taj Mahal
Spellbinding Arabic inscriptions welcome the visitors to the 2 main mausoleum of Emperor Shah Jehan and Mumtaz Mahal. The Arabic verses were selected by Amanat Khan and find his signatures there. They are beautifully done by black marble stone in the mausoleum and the main entrance and South Gateway of Taj Entrance. On the tomb of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, the calligraphy includes ninety names of God. The upper cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal and Emperor Shah Jahan have passages in calligraphy.
17. Visited by people from around the world
The world famous monument pulls millions of tourists from all over the world and visitors from within the country. It is also known as the most visited monument in India and even in Asia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site designated as “the Jewel of Muslim art in India, One of the Universally Admired Masterpieces of the World's Heritage” attracts nearly eight million visitors each year!
18. Taj Mahal is taller than the Qutub Minar
The famous tallest minaret in the world which is also one of the top sightseeing places in Delhi Qutub Minar. The record height of this minaret is 72.5 meters whereas the marble monument of Taj minaret is 73 meters. Due to the proportionate construction of the marble monument, it does not appear to be taller than the brick minaret in the world, but it is as it measures 243.5 ft whereas Qutub Minar is 239 ft. Thus Taj Mahal is taller than the Qutub Minar.
19. Famous as Seven Wonders of the World
Somewhere somebody may have read online, heard in the news, or even in school text books that Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's a fact that out of 21 aspiring finalists for this great prestigious title, the Taj Mahal a white marble wonder architecture is picked as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World during the 2000 - 2007 initiative. It has also earned two titles as designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
20. A Galaxy Of Materials
There were various precious stones, marble stone, and construction materials used in the construction work of The Taj Mahal. Mostly, the white marble was taken from Makrana, Rajasthan. The Jasper was purchased from from Punjab. Some were purchased from outside from other countries. Jade & Crystal were bought from China. Some precious stones like Turquoise was from Tibet, the Lapis Lazuli was purchased from Afghanistan, Carnelian from Arabia and the Sapphire stone from Sri Lanka. These precious stones, semi precious stones were inlaid in the marble. There were a total of 28 precious materials and precious stones.
Chronicles of Taj Mahal
Year of construction : 1631
Year of completion : 1653
Time taken for construction : 22 years
Constructed by : Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
Dedicated to : Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum, empress of Shah Jahan)
Construction Type : Islamic Tomb
Architectural Style : Blend of Mughal, Persian and Indian
Architect : Ustad Ahmad Lahauri
Constrcution Cost : 32 crore rupees
Number of artisans : 20,000
Highlights : One of the Seven Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site
Timings to visit Taj Mahal
Sunrise to Sunset (From Sunday to Thursday). Open till midnight on full moon nights and couple of nights before and after that.
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