The Taj Mahal, one of the eight wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is regarded as the most beautiful masterpiece of architecture in the world. Standing majestically on the bank of Yamuna River in Agra India, the Taj Mahal is the most well preserved and architecturally amazing mausoleum in the world. Built entirely of white marble, the beauty of the Taj Mahal never fails to mesmerize its visitors. The beauty of the Taj is best described by the words of English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones." The Taj is a celebration of woman built in marble and that's the way to appreciate it.
The symbol of eternal love, the Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal who died while delivering their 14th baby, at a young age of 38. While on her deathbed, Mumtaj Mahal took four promises, one of them was that he would build the most beautiful monument in the world in her memory, and the result was the amazing Taj Mahal whose beauty was never been surpassed by any other monument in the world.
Regarded as the exceptionally beautiful architectural wonder, the Taj Mahal represents a fine blend of Mughal, Persian, Central Asian, and Islamic architecture. The construction of the Taj Mahal started in 1931 and it was completed in 1648 AD. Expert craftsmen, sculptors, and calligraphers from Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Europe were employed to work on the masterpiece. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks such as calligraphy of Quranic Verses.
The Taj Mahal stands on a raised red sandstone, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The most impressive and remarkable features of the Taj Mahal are its four tall minarets (162.5 feet high) at four corners of the structure, the black and white chessboard marble floor and the majestic dome (213 feet high and 58 feet in diameter) in the middle. The uniformly encrypted Quranic verses all around the archways and the level of sophistication used in its overall decorations make everyone spell bound. The level of sophistication in artwork becomes obvious when one realizes that a 3 cm decorative element contains more than 50 inlaid gemstones. The jewel-inlaid cenotaph of the queen lies at the lower chamber within the dome. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later.
The beauty of this wonderful architecture called the Taj Mahal enhances manifold during a full moon night when the Taj sparks like a bright jewel in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the Taj appears as if suspended when viewed from across the Yamuna River. It is believed that the Taj changes its colors during the different hours of the day, because of its unique setting against the Yamuna River. The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines.
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