The Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Shah Jahan was the fifth ruler of the Mughal dynasty. During his third regnal year, his favorite wife, known as Mumtaz Mahal, died due to complications arising from the birth of their fourteenth child. Deeply saddened, the emperor started planning the construction of a suitable, permanent resting place for his beloved wife almost immediately. It is the taj mahal. The famed complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, which combined Indian, Persian, and Islamic influences. It is situated in the eastern part of the city on the southern (right) bank of the Yamuna (Jumna) River.
History of TAJ MAHAL
Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid-18th-century. After the death of his father, King Jahangir, in 1627, the emperor at Agra in 1682. l whom he married in 1612 and Mumtaz Mahal cherished as the favorite of his three queens. In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died after giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. The grieving Shah Jahan, known for commissioning a number of impressive structures throughout his reign, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. Construction began around 1632 and would continue for the next two decades. The rectangular complex runs roughly 1860 feet on the north-south axis, and 1000 feet on the east-west axis. The plans for the complex have been attributed to various architects of the period, The chief architect was probably Ustad Ahmad Lahori. The Taj Mahal is, however, exceptional for its monumental scale, stunning gardens, lavish ornamentation, and its overt use of white marble.
The five principal elements of the complex,
*The white-marble mausoleum is flanked on either side by identical buildings in red sandstone. One of these serves as a mosque, and the other, whose exact function is unknown, provides architectural balance.
*garden, jawāb, and mausoleum —were conceived and designed as a unified entity according to the tenets of Mughal building practice, which allowed no subsequent addition or alteration.
While minarets in Islamic architecture are usually associated with mosques – for use by the muezzin. In all, more than 17,000-25,000 workers from India, Persia, Europe, and the Ottoman Empire, along with some500- 1,000 elephants, were brought in to build the mausoleum complex. An Indian of Persian descent would later be credited with designing the Red Fort at Delhi. At its center is the Taj Mahal itself, built of shimmering white marble that seems to change color depending on the daylight. Agra Fort, also on the right bank of the Yamuna, is about 1 mile west of the Taj Mahal.
Named the Taj Mahal in honor of Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was constructed of inlaid with semi-precious stones, including jade, crystal, lapis lazuli, amethyst, and turquoise forming intricate designs in a technique known as pietra dura. The interior floor plan of the Taj exhibits the hash bishisht principle, alluding to the eight levels of paradise. Consisting of eight halls and side rooms connected to the main space in a cross-axial plan—the favored design for Islamic architecture from the mid-fifteenth century—the center of the main chamber holds Mumtaz. it to the splendor of the Taj’s white exterior. The dominant theme of the carved imagery is floral, showing some recognizable, and other fanciful species of flowers—another link to the theme of paradise.
Some of the Taj Mahal’s architecture fuses aspects from other Islamic traditions, but other aspects reflect indigenous style elements. In particular, this is evident in the umbrella-shaped ornamental chhatris atop the pavilions and minarets. Under the direction of Amānat Khan al-Shīrāzī, verses from the Qurʾān were inscribed across numerous sections of the Taj Mahal in calligraphy, central to Islamic artistic tradition. To ensure a uniform appearance from the vantage point of the terrace, the lettering increases in size according to its relative height and distance from the viewer.
was to have been connected by a bridge to the Taj Mahal. He was deposed in 1658 by his son Aurangzeb, however, and was imprisoned for the rest of his life in Agra. .Shah Jahan lived out the last years of his life under house arrest in a tower of the Red Fort at Agra, with a view of the majestic resting place he had constructed for his wife; The emperor’s cenotaph was laid down beside hers after he died (when he died in 1666) three decades later—both are encased in an octagon of exquisitely carved white marble screens.
Under Aurangzeb’s long rule, the Mughal Empire reached the height of its strength. However, his militant Muslim policies, including the destruction of many Hindu temples and shrines, undermined the enduring strength of the empire and led to its demise by the mid-18th century.
Even as Mughal power crumbled, the Taj Mahal suffered from neglect and disrepair in the two centuries after Shah Jahan’s death. Near the turn of the 19th century, Lord Curzon, then British viceroy of India, ordered a major restoration of the mausoleum complex as part of a colonial effort to preserve India’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Air pollution from nearby factories and automobiles poses a continual threat to the mausoleum’s gleaming white marble façade, and in 1998, India’s Supreme Court ordered a number of anti-pollution measures to protect the building from deterioration. More recently, a number of measures have been taken to reduce the threat to the monument, among them the closing of some foundries and the installation of pollution-control equipment at others, the creation of a parkland buffer zone around the complex. Some factories were closed, while vehicular traffic was banned from the immediate vicinity of the complex. A restoration and research program for the Taj Mahal was initiated in 1995- 2000. Progress in improving environmental conditions around the monument has been slow, however. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a stunning symbol of India’s rich history. One of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world, the Taj Mahal is also one of the world’s most iconic monuments. Visited by million tourists each year (Today, some 3 million people a year visit the Taj Mahal)