The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most beautiful man-made structures. It is also one of the eight wonders of the world and remains a popular tourist attraction. It was built out of magnificent white marble and is perched atop a red sandstone base. Building was conducted by the Muslim rulers known as the Mughals. The white sheen of the marble is especially beautiful when the sun and moon’s rays hit it, making it appear to glow with a mysterious charm and allure.
The Taj Mahal was built between 1626 and 1648 of our Common Era (CE) by the Emperor Shah Jahan. He built it as a memorial to his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal, and it is believed to be a reflection of his dreams. Her grave was placed in the lower chamber. It took over 20 years to build this intricate structure and over 20 000 employees were put to use. It cost 32 million rupees to complete. The Taj Mahal is famous for its perfectly balanced geometrical structure. The four corners are truncated and each of the architectural elements integrates with the others despite standing on its own. The main dome is 213 feet high. One of the most beautiful features of its appearance is the inlaid precious stones throughout the mausoleum’s interior and exterior. These precious stones, including jasper and agate, form tiny flowers and ornate calligraphy.
Surrounding the building are exquisite gardens of colourful blooms and rich, green foliage. The Jamuna River flows behind the Taj Mahal and the gardens are further enriched by four reflective pools. There is a mosque on the premises and local Muslim followers use the Taj Mahal for prayers five times a day. It is closed to the public on Fridays, when it is used exclusively for worship.
The Taj Mahal is situated in Agra and is just over 200 kilometres from the capital city of Delhi. Agra boasts many other tourist attractions (such as Fatehpur Sikri, Buland Darwaza and Sikandra) as well as a variety of hotels, eateries and activities. This area is most pleasant between October and March. However, tourism continues all year round.
Unfortunately, the white marble is under threat from pollution. As urban areas continue to become more densely populated and industries continue to expand their reaches, air, soil and water pollution become greater and greater issues. In addition, the tourism industry in India has escalated exponentially over recent years. This means greater demand for transport, infrastructure and resources.
This “Monument of Love” is truly a spectacular and humbling sight. Its multiplicity in design, its rectangular structure and the geometrical balance have been used to represent various ideas (such as the complexity of a woman, and so on). When one explores its beauty, remembering that its inspiration was drawn purely from the emperor’s love for his wife, its magical romance resonates deep within the spectator.
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