An Agra tour is incomplete without a trip to the famous Taj Mahal, a symbol of love. This mausoleum was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In order to fulfil her wish to construct an unforgettable monument to immortalise their love, the ruler organised a worldwide competition to finalise one particular design of the structure, which is now a masterpiece called Taj Mahal. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri designed its present day structure that took almost 22 years to get completed. Moreover, it was the hard work of approximately 20,000 craftsmen that resulted in such a magnificent masterpiece. This heritage building, an architectural marvel, showcases a fusion of both Islamic and Mughal architecture. The memorial complex includes many independent structures like tombs, mosques, gardens, fountains and gateways.
The Splendid Architecture of the Memorial
The enchanting mausoleum is made in the Pietra Dura technique, inlaid in geometrical and floral patterns with semi-precious and precious stones, such as Cornelian, Agate, Emerald, Mother of Pearl and Lapis-lazuli. The magnificent architecture of this Mughal era edifice describes the obsession of the emperor for perfection. The Mughal ruler himself paid attention to the minutest details of the construction and architecture of this majestic structure. The white marble was brought from quarries in Rajasthan and the red sandstone was transported from Delhi. Talking about the precious stones, if Jasper was carted from Punjab, then Carnelian was imported from Baghdad. On one hand, Turquoise was brought from Tibet, on other, jade, malachite and crystal transported were from Turkistan.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated at the banks of Yamuna River, boasts of perfect symmetry across the length and width and therefore, seems intriguing to every passing visitor, leaving them gasping in awe. The visual appeal of this monument is enhanced on the night of a full moon that leaves it shining like a pearl.
Also called the Rauza-i-Munauwara, the mausoleum is the main attraction erected at the northern most end of the entire complex. The Taj Mahal is built on a square-shaped plinth and has an iwan (arch-shaped doorway) with a big dome and finial. The base is a multi-chambered cube with corners resembling an unequal octagon. Each of its four sides has a pishtaq (vaulted archway) to frame the iwan that comprises two arched balconies placed on either side. The tomb is framed by four minarets, one on all four corners of the square plinth. The main chamber consists of false sarcophagi of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal while their actual graves lie on a lower level.
The spectacular view of this architectural masterpiece is mesmerising as its huge dome and minarets having a slightly inward tilt and the walls are inscribed with verses of the Holy Quran in arabesque ornamentation. For a memorable trip to Agra with family, travellers can opt for family holiday packages in India that can offer them great deals and discounts.