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Back to the Taj Mahal story
If there is one Wonder of the World that does not need any description, it is this spectacular monument in India. Often considered among the most miraculous works of man, getting a glimpse of Taj Mahal could be your only reason for travelling all the way to India.
A 17th century epitome of Mughal architecture, the white marble structure was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as an act of love for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Without any doubt, the striking beauty of Taj Mahal makes it renowned as one of the greatest Seven Wonders of the World.
As simple as this breath-taking monument might appear on the surface, the intricate details and great depths behind its architectural style often get ignored on getting the first glimpse of this spectacular building.
Explore some of the rarest facts and associated myths about one of the most magnificent UNESCO World Heritage sites, so that when you visit this architectural marvel you can observe the monument with far broader vision than that which meets the eye.
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One of the most well-known monuments of the world and an icon of Mughal architecture in India, Taj Mahal is not just a treat for the eyes but holds great depths of intricate details in its architectural style too.
Believed to have been made by the Persian calligrapher Amanat Khan, who resided in India at the time, Taj Mahal welcomes its visitors with beautiful calligraphy inscriptions on its great walls and pillars.
The calligraphy, on the great gate of the monument is lettered on black marble, which is then inlaid on the white marble, is one architectural feature that can be seen on all walls and pillars of the monument. Passages from the Islamic Holy scripture are used throughout the monument as a decorative element, with Arabic inscription on the north gate reading about the final journey of the soul.
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One of the basic styles of Taj Mahal architecture is the symmetry and proportionality of the structure.
Made of pure white marble imported from the Indian state of Rajasthan, the monument’s perfect symmetrical planning is a major factor in making it renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Majority walls of Taj Mahal depict realistic carvings of vines and flowers. The almost geometric style of wall carvings is made using the ‘pietra dura’ or parchin kari style, which is a sculpture technique of using polished and coloured stones to create images.
Even stones of yellow marble, jasper and jade are crafted on the surface of the walls all over the monument!
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If you thought that the already beautiful monument cannot look any better, then prepare yourself up for a completely enchanting sight!
For an exclusive view of the monument, Taj Mahal is open on full moon nights to visitors with only 400 people allowed in individual batches of 8. Each of the batch is given 30 minutes to explore the enchanting monument under full moonlight.
With white marble that glows naturally even on the darkest of the nights, Taj Mahal strikingly stands out under the full moon, appearing more like a blue and white pearl!
If you plan to visit India to see this amazing Wonder of the World, getting a glimpse of the monument at night could be the rarest of all experiences. Night viewing of Taj Mahal is available on all full moon nights of the month, along with two nights before and after the full moon.
A symbol of elevation to the sky, the four minarets of Taj Mahal have the great metaphoric role of acting as a guiding light, appearing more like four lighthouses of the monument. Another surprising fact is that the four minarets are shaped in a way which makes them inclined outwards towards the gardens or the neighbouring river.
Such was the architectural design used for the minarets, keeping in mind an event of any natural calamity like an earthquake, in which case the towers would fall outwards keeping the main mausoleum safe.
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As strange as it might sound, Taj Mahal appears to change colours throughout the day. At dawn it would seem to reflect shades of yellow or pink, while as the sun sets the monument would appear in different shades of golden and orange.
Even Taj Mahal’s original colour is still a debated issue with the Archaeological Survey of India, given that the various variations of the colour white have been observed over the century which makes it difficult to determine its actual colour!
So, when you visit the spectacular monument, don’t be surprised if it is not the kind of white you imagined but something far more fascinating!
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One less known fact is that Taj Mahal, being considered as a protected monument, is a no-fly zone area. Even any drones are banned in the 500m radius of the monument!
The main reason for such restriction is to keep the monument protected from any security related threats. Although being a no-fly zone, lack of awareness among tourists often leads to violations of this protocol.
The iconic Taj Mahal is made with an emphasis on bilateral symmetry which can be witnessed right at the entrance of the monument. The mausoleum is also considered as one of the most beautiful examples of symmetry in the world.
It is also believed that the balance of symmetry is maintained throughout the building right from its entrance gardens, dome structure to minarets.
Complete balance on all sides creates a mirror effect for the spectators, making it one of the largest symmetrical buildings in the world. It is this factor of Taj Mahal which showcases how serious its architects were regarding the building’s perception!
Also known as the Black Taj or the Second Taj, this structure is said to have been planned to be built across the river Yamuna, facing opposite the white Taj Mahal.
It is believed that the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan even started the construction of Black Taj, but the monument never came into existence as the emperor was later imprisoned by his son.
Considered as a failed attempt to create a mirror image of the white Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan planned the Black Taj to be built as his tomb standing opposite his wife’s tomb. Although many archeologists today consider this story to be only a myth!
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