Taj Mahal - Allegory of Platonic love
A teardrop in the cheek of eternity - Rabindranath Tagore
Persuaded with love, India's most historic Mausoleum has been adored by millions of visitors with its quiet beauty in Agra, Uttar Pradesh on an area of about 42 acres. None less than a fairy tale, The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century of white marble by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third and the most beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. Taj Mahal is well known as "CROWN OF PALACES" in Arabic. It is a Jewel of Islamic Art in a Hindu Dominant Nation.
It contains the architecture of Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian styles. About 7 million people every year visit the ultimate poetry engraved in the marble of the alluring structure. The great emperor said, "the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes" when it was made. It took about 17 long years to complete the Mahal. Also, The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, with more than 100 million votes.
Interesting facts about Taj Mahal
Let's tell you the lesser-known facts of this majestic ode of love.
- It took Enormous strength of 22,000 laborers to build the palace. It is said that the changing tint of the Mausoleum well seizes the mood swings of the emperor's wife at different times of the day. It is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night, in the presence of moonlight.
- The most captivating part is the white dome at the pinnacle of the Mahal, which is about 35 meters - 115 feet tall. 'Onion dome' is what it is mostly called and is also surrounded by four other domes. One of the most told rumors we all grew up listening to, about the Taj Mahal is that the emperor commanded that all the laborers who worked on the palace will get their hands chopped so that nothing like this majestic beauty can be made again.
- The Mausoleum has an active mosque and is closed on Friday for prayers. Respect should be offered as it is a functioning religious holy place. It took almost 22 years to construct the complete Taj mahal with the outer courtyard and its cloisters, it started around 1632 and was completed in 1653. Miscellaneous fine-tuning continued thereafter.
Decoration of graves is forbidden in Islamic culture; therefore, the emperor Shah Jahan and wife Mumtaz mahal are buried in a plain crypt beneath the main inner hall of the Mausoleum.
- At that time, it cost 32 million Indian rupees to construct this one of its kind monument, which is equivalent to the US $1 Billion. More than 1,000 elephants were used to commute heavy materials used in the construction. Milky white marble was bought from Rajasthan. There are nearly 28 expensive and exquisite jewels that are set in the sculpture. The turquoise ones came from Tibet, and jade ones came from China. During the revolt of 1857, the British army wrenched many of these jewels from the marble of the Mausoleum.
- After the completion of the Mausoleum, the emperor was put under house arrest by his son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan was only able to gaze at his own built symbol of love from his window in his last eight years of life before he was interred there. Since the Decoration of graves is forbidden in Islamic culture, the emperor Shah Jahan and wife Mumtaz Mahal are buried in a plain crypt beneath the main inner hall of the Mausoleum.
However, due to awful air pollution in the city, the white marbles are rapidly turning yellow. Only electric vehicles like rickshaws are permitted in and around the premises. To help control outrush 4,000-square-mile environmental radius was declared around the monument. Visitors are only allowed to take electric buses and rickshaws from the parking, else walking always does good to health!
Sadly, The Taj Mahal is crevicing at a rapid rate because of the lack of groundwater under the structure. It is seen that the minarets are also leaning more. The wooden Foundation, which was once submerged, is also said to be rotting now.
Ticket price to visit Taj Mahal
It is going to cost you INR 50 if you’re an Indian national and INR 1,100 if you’re an international tourist.
Please note - you have to buy an extra ticket for INR 200 to visit the main mausoleum.
Also, Do not forget to carry your ID proofs along.
The Taj Mahal opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes before sunset.
Famous Restaurants near Taj mahal
- Joney's Place
- Yes Restaurant
- Pinch of Spice
- Dostea Cafe
Also, Do not forget to take Petha as a dessert because it is a mouth tempting sweet dish you shouldn’t miss if you are in Agra.
Top sightseeing places near Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
- Tomb of Akbar the Great
- Jama Masjid
- Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
So, before it gets too late, go have a picture with your beloved in front of the symbol of love. The kind of affection the emperor had for his wife to which he dedicated one of the wonders of the world, maybe passed on to you.