Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is situated on the south bank of river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pardesh. This beautiful monument was constructed by Shah Jahan, the mughal emperor, as the memorial of his favourite wife Mumtaj Mahal. The construction commenced in 1632. After the day and night effort of more than 20000 workers for 22 years this master piece took its final shape in 1654 with the cost of around 32 crore rupees.
Taj Mahal is designed and constructed by the architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. More than 1000 elephants were employed to transport the construction material. Around 28 different varieties of precious stones were used to enrich the magnificent inlay work of Taj. Different types of marbles were used in the construction of Taj Mahal. The marbles were brought from different regions of Rajasthan and Punjab and even from outside India like China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Srilanka and Arabia.
The complex structure consists of a center piece which has the tombs of Mumtaj Mahal and Shah Jahan , four minarets one on each corner, a gateway in front, a mosque and a jawab(the mirror image of mosque) on the sides. The minarets were constructed slightly tilted outside so that in case any minarets falls it will not affect the central piece. The actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal is surrounded by the 99 names of â€œAllahâ€ in calligraphic inscriptions. Even calligraphy that praises her is also there.
During the Indian rebellion of 1857, the British officers and soldiers ripped many precious stones including Lapis Lazuli from the walls of the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal appears to be of different colors depending upon the time of the day. It is said that this depicts the changing moods of the women. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore described Taj Mahal As - The Tear drop on the cheek of time.
Local guides shared the following unknown facts about Taj:
- On the top of the gateway there are 22 dooms that represents the 22 years of construction.
- The 16 gardens that surround the plinth represent the first two digits of the year of construction.
- The 32 fountains shows the last two digits of the year of the commencement of construction.
- Shah Jahan wants to build another mausoleum with black marble across the Yamuna River.
- The king took the responsibility of lifelong livelihood for the workers who constructed the building. Even the descendants of those are still working there.
- After laying the foundation the architect left it for some years so that the foundation exposed to every weather and become strong and firm.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNSECO. In 2007, it was declared as the top ranked wonder in 7 wonders of the world. Even after more than 350 years Taj Mahal is known for its beauty and eternal love and charms 7-8 millon visitors annually from all over the world.