Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is scintillating and pristine in its glory. Being one of the most talked about monuments of the world, Taj Mahal has many legends surrounding it. These legends and folklore enhance the mystery and curiosity of the travelers visiting the monument.Let us turnover the pages of history and read some of the popular legends associated with the edifice of love.
Taj Mahal an Italian architecture ?
There is a common myth that even though Taj Mahal has been multiple times described as a fusion of Indian, Persian and Mughal architectural styles, it is the creation of an Italian architect. Geronimo Veroneo is believed to have lived for several years at Agra and died at Lahore in 1640. But there is no evidence of the fact and Geronimo is described in the contemporary sources as an excellent jeweler who was present at Agra at the time when Taj Mahal was built.
Black Taj Mahal
When you explore Taj Mahal, you will find a dissymmetrical structure from rest of the structure. This is the memorial built over the graveyard of Shah Jahan. It is believed that Shah Jahan never thought of having his memorial as a part of the existing Taj Mahal but dreamt of having a stunning back Taj Mahal dedicated to himself. The idea was to build a Taj Mahal of black marble at the other bank of River Yamuna and connect both the monuments with a bridge.
Threats to Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is exquisite and a rare piece of architectural wonder. Hence it is no wonder that malicious attacks had been planned since its construction to demolish the pride of India. Taj Mahal once adorned with tapestries, silver doors, jewels and lavish carpets were looted several times during British rule by the rulers and the locals, which reduced much of its grandeur. Later in 1830, the governor of India, Lord William Bentinck planned to demolish Taj and auction its marble. But the idea was not fruitful as buyers were not found of the precious marble. By the end of 19th century, Taj Mahal was completely in a ruining stage. Though in 1908 Lord Curzon started the restoration work and the memorial was able to regain part of ok its lost opulence, the threats of German attack on Taj Mahal became prominent. Taj was guarded by scaffolds to defend the attack. The latest threats on Taj Mahal were during the Indo-Pak war, 1965 to 1971; the scaffolds were again constructed and the memorial was covered by tarpaulin to safeguard Taj. Ultimately, Taj Mahal is still there, mesmerizing us with its beauty.
How so symmetric ?
Besides its enchanting beauty, the asymmetric design and the lush green four by four meadows is the research ground of any architect. It has always been a surprise to the designers how a monument could be kept symmetric on such a massive scale. While the minarets are equidistant, each chattri is lotus designed and the Persian styled gardens with canals to feed water from River Yamuna is an example of outstanding planning and strategy.
Taj Mahal comes with a tragic tale
This legend or rather a folklore saddens any heart that visits Taj Mahal. It is believed that craftsmen who gave life to the white stone marbles to form one of the Seven Wonders of the World, were mutilated of their hands after the completion of work. Though there is no evidence of this folklore, it instantly evokes a sense of grief among the tourists.
Why the name Taj Mahal ?
Why and how Taj Mahal was named still remains a mystery. While some believe that it is a Persian name, others state that the monument was named after Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Shah Jahan, to whom the memorial is dedicated. In Persian language, Taj means crown and Mahal means place or area. Another interesting myth about its name is that, Taj Mahal is a remodel of a Shiva temple, the name of which was Tejo Mahalya; and hence has been named after the shrine.
Taj may sink
It is tough to keep such a huge structure as Taj Mahal intact for years and interior cracks were noticed during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1652. Immediate repairs were made but the cracks reoccurred in 1810. It seemed that as the northern side of Taj Mahal is lower than the southern part and hence the monument is tilting on one side. Moreover, the lime could not take the excess weight of the memorial and hence it was gradually sinking in the River Yamuna. Recently as River Yamuna is gradually drying up, the ebony wood base of Taj Mahal, which requires regular supply of moisture for strength is weakening, leading to the sink. Measures are being taken to prevent this disaster while the myth lures as a horror in the mind of Taj admirers.
Was Taj Mahal a palace ?
Based on the research of professor P.N. Oak, there is a confusion regarding the fact whether Taj is a remodeled structure of a Rajputana Palace or was built from the scratch. Though it is a fact that a Rajputana Palace existed where Taj Mahal stands today; it was long before Shah Jahan came into rule and is still an unclear picture.
Was Taj Mahal a temple?
As stated earlier, some believe that there was a Shiva temple with name of Tejo Mahalya where Taj Mahal stands today. Due to the fact that Mughals used to loot Hindu shrines and conquer lands, the myth gets strength even though there is no prominent proof of the same.
Taj was even more precious
It is believed that when Taj Mahal was built it was not only an epitome of beauty but also of opulence. Adorned with soft and handwoven carpets, silver gates and engraved with semi-precious stones, Taj Mahal was gorgeous and grand. But after multiple thefts of jasper carved entrances golden leaves and other valuable both by the locals and the British rulers, the grandeur reduced considerably. During the reign of Lord Curzon, renovation work was started and Taj Mahal was restored to some extent.
Hence visit this amazing piece of architecture to live some moments of love with your special ones and also to discover the truth of the myths that envelope the edifice.
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