Nestled on the bank of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal, shrouded in a figurative shawl of history and intrigue, casts its opulent eye over the surroundings of Agra.
A symbol of Indian culture, the building is the epitome of an architectural antithesis, with the stunning exterior belying its primary purpose to act as a tomb for the wife of Shah Jahan, the Emperor who reigned from 1628 to 1658.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic sites on the planet, with hordes of visitors flocking to the site to marvel at its splendour.
- A mammoth workforce of 22,000 labourers, painters, stonecutters and embroidery artists built the Taj Mahal.
- The alternating moods of the Emperors wife are represented by the changing hues of the Mausoleum; they change colour at different times of the day. In the morning, it takes a pinkish hue, while in the evening it takes a white tinge, before turning golden at night under the illumination of the moonlight.
- Such are the meticulous details of the work and art within the architecture in the Taj Mahal that it took 17 years to complete the entire project.
- While the validity of the stories may never be confirmed, it is rumoured 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.
- A modern day equivalent of the Taj Mahal would approximately about $100 million to replicate the beauty of the construct.
- Large pieces of the precious stones on the mausoleum were ripped off from the walls by the British army during the Indian rebellion of 1857. Thankfully, this has not had a profound impact on the long-term aesthetics of the building.
- The Beatles didn’t only revolutionise the music scene – one of the first selfies taken at Taj Mahal was by George Harrison with the fish-eye lens.
- The building holds such cultural significance that it has served as creative influence. For instance, Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, an American Grammy Award-winning Blues musician, uses the stage name Taj Mahal.
- An optical illusion was deployed during the construction of the Taj Mahal; as you move closer to the gate, the Taj keeps getting smaller. It seems to grow bigger as you walk away.
- The minarets were built tilting outwards to protect the Taj from calamities like earthquakes. Upon close observation, the four minarets are tilting outwards. This was incorporated into the building design so that in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, the minars won’t fall on the main gumbad or Dome, thereby ensuring the safety of the Tomb.