On the right bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra stands the Islamic ivory-white marble mausoleum known as the Taj Mahal. It was built in 1632 at the request of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who wanted to house the burial of Mumtaz Mahal, his favorite wife. It also contains Shah Jahan's tomb. The mausoleum is the focal point of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex that also contains a mosque and a guest house. The complex is surrounded on three sides by a castle-like wall and is located in formal gardens.

Although the mausoleum's construction was substantially finished in 1643, other project phases required a further 10 years of work. The Taj Mahal complex is thought to have been finished in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees or roughly 70 billion rupees (almost $1 billion) in modern currency. A board of architects chaired by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the emperor's court architect, oversaw the construction project, which employed some 20,000 workers. The Taj employs a variety of iconography to represent both divine and natural beauty.

 

5 Main Components of the Taj Mahal

  • The main gateway
  • Garden
  • Mosque
  • Jawab (a building that mirrors the mosque)
  • Mausoleum (including its four minarets)

They were conceived and designed as a single, cohesive unit by the rules of Mughal building practice, which forbade any later additions or alterations.

The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World because of its breathtaking beauty and fascinating historical background.

Want to discover more about India's historic Taj Mahal in Agra? You probably didn't know these 5 fascinating facts about the Taj Mahal before reading this!

 

 5 Interesting facts about Taj Mahal


1. A sign of Love:

What makes the Taj Mahal, a marble structure or mausoleum, famous as the "Symbol of Love"? Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor, adored his third wife, who passed away giving birth to their third child. So he made a decision and ordered a magnificent monument that has stood for generations. He built the monument out of devotion to his wife. This is the basis for the Taj Mahal's claim to fame as the "Symbol of Love" around the world.


2. Qutub Minar is shorter than the Taj Mahal in height

Qutub Minar is the well-known tallest minaret in the world and one of Delhi's most popular tourist attractions. This minaret has a record height of 72.5 meters, although the Taj Minaret's marble monument has a height of 73 meters. The marble monument's proportional design makes it look as though it is not taller than any brick minaret in the world, yet it is; Qutub Minar is 239 feet shorter. Taj Mahal is hence higher than Qutub Minar.


3. Covered in Islamic Calligraphy throughout

The calligrapher's signature reads, "Written by the insignificant creature, Amanat Khan Shirazi," which is a pretty modest version.

The passages from the Quran are calligraphed in Arabic and are exquisitely inscribed in several locations. Perhaps the most noticeable inscription is found on the big gate and reads as follows:

“O soul, you are at rest. Return to the Lord in peace with Him, and He at peace with you”

The Taj Mahal's mausoleum is heavily embellished with floral designs, most of which are etched in marble or used in stone moldings known as “pietra dura”. However, it appears that we cannot ignore the magnificent Arabic inscriptions that surround the iwans (these porches broad traditional Persian architecture). Additionally, there are cenotaphs commemorating Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, the couple in honor of whom the Mumtaz Mahal monument was created, upon the gardens' entrance gate.


4. The Materials Galaxy

When building the Taj Mahal, a variety of valuable stones, marble, and building materials were utilized. The white marble came primarily from Makrana in Rajasthan. The Jasper came from Punjab, where it was bought. Some were bought abroad from other nations. Designers purchased Jade and Crystal in China. Some priceless stones, including turquoise from Tibet, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, carnelian from Arabia, and sapphire from Sri Lanka, were imported. The marble was inlaid with these precious and semi-precious stones. There were 28 different valuable metals and gems in all.

But numerous valuable stones from various countries got stolen from Taj Mahal. Over the centuries, several of them have gone missing. During uprisings and conflicts, thieves stole some priceless stones and walls and even used them to construct new structures or monuments. It is also said that the British stole a number of priceless stones from the Taj Mahal's walls during the 1857 uprising.


5. King of Palaces

The English name for the Taj Mahal is "Crown of Palaces," literally. The Mughals, who erected numerous spectacular monuments, are credited with producing this, their finest work of art. As a result, it is known as the Taj Mahal, which means Palace Crown. This marble structure is not only one of the Seven Wonders of the World but also a well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the 2000–2007 program, it was also commissioned as one of the New Seventh Wonders of the World.

 

Important facts about the Taj Mahal

  • Construction year: 1631
  • Completion year: 1653
  • Total years of construction: 22 years
  • Built by: Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor
  • In honor of: Mumtaz Mahal
  • Type of Building: Islamic Tomb
  • Style of architecture: Mughal, Persian, and Indian fusion
  • Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahauri
  • Cost of Construction: 32 crore rupees
  • Total craftsmen: 20,000
  • Highlights: A World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World
  • Entrance fee for foreigners: 1000 INR
  • Visitors yearly from around the world: 7-8 Millions

 

How many of these Taj Mahal facts are already common knowledge to you? Drop a comment down below!