The architecture of Taj Mahal is one of the finest in this world. The white marble mausoleum looks amazingly beautiful during the full moon nights.
On her death Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan invited many famous architects to present layouts and designs and layouts to build Taj Mahal.
A number of architects presented various designs to Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to build the proposed Taj Mahal. Ustad Isa Khan Effendi was finally selected for the purpose.
The construction work of Taj Mahal started and a labor force of twenty thousand was engaged to construct the white marble mausoleum. Besides usual labor, it included masons, stone cutters and jewel-designers etc.
Marble and stones
The marble was transported from Makrana; other stones were brought from Sikri while many more precious stones were arranged from every nook and corner, of the country. Certain stones were also called from as far away as Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia. In those times when the means of transport were not so developed and cranes etc. to uplift heavy stones were not invented. It must have been an extraordinary tough task to transport stone from such distances.
With the whole treasury at its command and a huge labor force working at it, it took 12 long years to complete this mausoleum.
In order to prepare its biggest dome and to carry the construction material to that height, a two mile long slope had to be made. The design of this dome was mooted by the famous architect Ismail Khan. In the basement of this dome, the remains of Mumtaz Mahal were buried finally. On the top floor of this basement another grave, exactly similar to the one below, was constructed so that the sanctity and calmness of the real grave beneath may be preserved.
Buildings around Taj Mahal
After the Taj Mahal, several other buildings and a huge garden were built around the Taj Mahal. In the west of this building, there is a mosque and on the east is another building which offers an architectural sequence. Behind the main building there is a very high stone wall. The Yamuna river flows past touching it. On the fourth side, i.e. in front of the main building, there is a three-storied big gate. Construction of this gate alone took another five years. The total area surrounded by these walls is around forty-two hectares. While the main building took twelve years to complete, the mosque in the front and other buildings took another five years. Therefore in all it took 22 years to complete the Taj Mahal.
Entrance to th Taj
The spacious court between the fine gateway of red sandstone and the grand portal of the Taj is a quadrangle enclosed by rooms and the whole structure is known as the Jilo Khana.
There are three gates to it: east, west and south. The usual approach to the Taj is by the west gate which is handsomely built of red sandstone.
Taj Mahal built on a river bank
The architect of Taj Mahal had planned the Taj right on the bank of a big river. The building therefore, stands out against the horizon and the blue sky beyond. The raised marble platform emphasizes this visualization. There is the azure of the sky, the white of the marble, the pale red of the sandstone and the green of the garden.
The designer has also provided a long vista from near the gate to the Taj proper. Distance adds enchantment to this view. From the place in the gateway, where the visitor stands and views the Taj, the distance of the main building is about 1800 ft. away, and the Tai itself seems a mighty edifice. The marble platform is 313 ft. square and the height up to the pinnacle is 233 and ½ ft. above ground level.
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