The Taj Mahal from Persian and ATrabic, “crown of palaces”, is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the worldly remains of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna River. The mausoleum is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and remains as one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a symbol of India’s rich history. Regarded by many as the best example of the Mughal architecture, it is a perfect blend combining elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish as well as Indian architectural styles.
The famed mausoleum complex of white domed marble of the Taj Mahal actually is an integrated complex of many structures. The construction began around 1632 and was completed in about 22 years, in 1653, employing around 20,000 artisans and craftsmen throughout the empire. The construction was entrusted to a board of architects, the chief architect probably being Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Taj Mahal attracts some 3 million people a year for visit.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. As the surface area changes the decorations are refined proportionally. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs.
Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur’an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan.
The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to complete. The remaining parts of the complex took an additional 10 years and were completed in order of minarets, mosque and jawab, and gateway. Since the complex was built in stages, discrepancies exist in completion dates due to differing opinions on “completion”. For example, the mausoleum itself was essentially complete by 1643, but work continued on the rest of the complex. Estimates of the cost of construction vary due to difficulties in estimating costs across time.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Ustad Ahmad Lahauri
73 m (240 ft)[/vc_wp_text]