Taj Mahal means "Crown of the Palace". It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is built on the south bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. It was designed by architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri; he was a Persian from Iran.
16 Interesting Taj Mahal Facts
- Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bano Begum) who died giving birth to their 14th child. She was his third wife. Their union lasted for 19 years and led to the birth of 14 children.
- The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631 and got completed in the year 1653. That is it took 22 years to be completed. Its construction cost is estimated to be 32 million Indian rupees. An estimated 20,000 labors were recruited for its construction. More than 1,000 elephants were used to transport the heavy building material.
- 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were used to adorn the Taj with exquisite inlay work. The turquoise came from Tibet, and jade came from China.
- The four minarets (towers) surrounding the Taj Mahal were constructed farther away from the main structure than usual. The towers lean slightly outwards rather than stand straight. This was done as a safety measure so that if the minarets ever fall, they would fall away from the tomb rather than crash into the central structure.
- The Taj Mahal is one of the world's most symmetric structures. Its four sides are perfectly identical, built using the principles of self-replication and symmetry in geometry and architecture, thus creating a mirrored image on either side. The only thing that is not symmetrical is the tomb. To keep the male tomb larger than female, the two tombs are unequal in size.
- Passages from Quran have been used as decorative elements throughout the complex. On the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, 99 names of Allah can be found as calligraphic inscriptions.
- It is rumored that the Emperor ordered that all the workers who worked on the mausoleum get their hands chopped of so that no one could make anything like it ever again.
- Taj Mahal changes its color depending upon the light. This white marble structure gives off a different aura when seen under the warm sunlight and the cool shade of moonlight. There is a pinkish hue in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night when lit by the moon.
- After the completion of Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan was put under house arrest in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan was only able to see the Taj Mahal from his window for the last eight years of his life.
- It is believed that Shah Jahan desired a mausoleum for himself similar to that of the one he had built in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This would be a Black Taj Mahal built on the opposite side of the river, but could not be completed as it was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb. The writing of the European traveler, Tavernier mentions this.
- The height of the Taj Mahal is 171 meters (561 feet), which makes it 5 feet taller than the Qutub Minar.
- Many of the precious stones on the mausoleum were ripped off from the walls of the mausoleum by the British army during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
- Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday as it has an active working mosque on the premises, which is open to prayers every Friday in the afternoon. It is open for general public for the remaining 6 days.
- During the British rule the gardens were changed to look like lawns in London.
- The Taj Mahal is taller than Qutub Minar.
- False structures and scaffolding were constructed around the Taj Mahal throughout different conflicts to confuse German, Japanese and Pakistani bomber pilots.
The day timings for visiting Taj Mahal are:
- Opening Time: 30 minutes before Sunrise
- Closing Time: 30 minutes before Sunset
Day Time Visit Ticket Prices:
- Rs.1050/- for Foreigners
- Rs.535/- for Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries
- Rs.45/- for Indians
- Entry free for children below the age of 15 years.
Night viewing at the Taj Mahal is allowed only for 5 nights in each month.
- Two days before the night of the full moon.
- The actual night of the full moon and
- Two days after the night of the full moon.
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