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Anupriya Bedi Apr 22 2014

Secrets of Taj Mahal

Debangana Sen Apr 22 2014
29 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

A shining symbol of India’s rich architectural heritage, the Taj Mahal remains a timeless masterpiece. Most of us are aware of the history, architecture and general facts surrounding this monument, but here is a list of 10 secrets of Taj Mahal you may not be acquainted with.

1. The man behind the scene

The world remembers Taj Mahal as a symbol of true love of Emperor Shah Jahan for his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. Not many know that the chief architect behind this grand structure was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

Photo of Taj Mahal (by Subrajyoti)

2. The foundation of the Taj

The construction of such a grand structure beside a river bank was not an easy task. The major hindrance was the lack of a sturdy foundation on which the monument was to be built. The soil on the riverbed was loose and prone to erosion. But the Mughal architects came up with an ingenious plan.

They dug wells deep into the soil and filled them with rocks and stones. Next, rows of stone pillars were built on top of the wells and connected with massive arches. The result--a strong foundation that has withstood the test of time.

Explore all the places to visit in Agra and get an insight into the history associated with this place.

3. Colossal expenses

No expenses were spared when it came to building Taj Mahal. From hiring thousands of labourers, craftsmen and officials, to the use of more than thirty varieties of precious and semi-precious stones in the inlay work, this was the biggest project undertaken in that age. In today’s currency, the cost would have amounted to more than US$ 1 billion.

Photo of the first view of the Taj (by sgambhir)

4. Taj Mahal caused an artificial famine

Blinded by his grief and obsession, Shah Jahan almost emptied the royal treasury in the construction of the Taj. The great riches of the flourishing empire became a thing of the past. Moreover, a huge portion of the grains and resources were redirected to Agra in order to feed the elephants and thousands of labourers employed in the construction of the Taj, resulting in an artificial famine in the rest of the kingdom.

5. The Black Taj

It is said that after the completion of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, wished to build an identical Taj Mahal of black marble (across the white Taj), where he would be laid to rest. Interestingly, this led to his imprisonment by his own son, Aurangzeb, who wanted to save the dwindling empire from his father’s extravagances.

6. The four leaning towers

One of the many secrets of Taj Mahal is its optical illusions. The four minarets on each corner of the Taj Mahal lean a little outwards. If they had been built exactly vertical, due to our optical perception, the towers would have seemed to be leaning inwards. Another advantage of this arrangement is that in the event of a severe earthquake, the minarets will fall on the outside, leaving the main structure unharmed.

The minarets of the Taj tilt slightly on the outside (by voobie)

7. More optical illusions

The first glimpse of the Taj Mahal is through the entry gate, positioned precisely such that as you move towards the structure, the monument seems to shrink and as you move further away, it gets bigger.

8. Raiding and reconstruction of the Taj

During the riots of 1857, the British army had stripped the walls of the Taj of precious jewels and stones. In the late 19th century, Lord Curzon ordered a reconstruction of parts of the Taj Mahal. He also gifted a large lamp that still hangs in the inner chambers of the monument.

9. Globally-inspired architecture

The basic plan of the monument and the grounds were inspired by the various descriptions of heaven as given in the Quran. But even though the Taj Mahal was built mostly in the Islamic architectural style, influences of Persian and Indian and Central-Asian styles are quite evident.

A close-up of the Pietra dura inlay work (by Dcastor)

10. Mirror image or not

Taj Mahal is commended for its precise detailing and calculations such that all the four sides, internally and externally, are mirror images of each other. The only exception are the tombs in the inner chamber. Following the edict of Quran, the male tomb is built taller than the female tomb.

Do you know any more such secrets of Taj Mahal? Plan a trip to Agra and explore the site yourself. Other than fort hopping, there are many more things to do in Agra for a wonderful experience.

since when public entry to Minarets of Taj stopped? & the metal hooks out side main dome are since origin or placed afterwards?
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