Monday, June 25, 2012

Taj Mahal Majestic Beauty


The Taj Mahal or “crown of palaces”, located in Agra India, is a beauty to behold and a vacation tourism sight you won't ever forget.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage”.  It covers area of about 552 acres, which includes the Taj Mahal and the Taj protected forest area.

Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture styles.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures.  The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.  The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.  Lahauri is generally considered to be the designer.

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal.  This large, white structure stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an arched doorway topped by a large dome and finial.

The interior walls are about 82 feet high and are topped by a “false” interior dome decorated with a sun motif.  The chamber goes way beyond traditional decorative elements.  The inlay work is of precious and semi-precious gemstones.  The chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.

The gardens are just as spectacular, using raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken flowerbeds.  A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum.  The garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains.

The Taj Mahal complex is surrounded on three sides by red stone walls, with the river facing side left open.  Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant.  These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of the small Mughal tombs of the era.  The garden facing inner sides of the wall fronted by columned arcades, a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques.

There are several vacation packages that will let you see this magnificent structure and its surrounding gardens.  The Taj Mahal is only one of the beautiful sites to see in India.  India is filled with palaces and wonders of all kinds for an adventurer to discover and is a place you might want to consider for your next dream vacation.

Happy Travels!!!

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