The Taj Mahal is supreme, most recognizable and iconic images of incredible India. Its subtle minarets, elegantly curved archways and vanilla scoop domes have forced every visitor to stand at its doorway and wonder at its magnificence. The wonder does not lie only in its constructions. It has earned itself a place on every list possible from UNESCO’s. It is one of the most Treasured Heritage Sites of the World. The Nobel Laureate of India referred Taj Mahal as a “tear fall on the cheek of time”. Recent studies have shown that Taj Mahal is sinking in river Yamuna. We have heard a lot about this white monument but still there are still loads of unheard and unhidden facts that have escaped the common public eye. From the fact that The Taj Mahal has a mosque in its complex because of which it remains close on Fridays and only people who are going for routine prayers are allowed to the news that Shah Jahan used to travel by boat to reach Taj Mahal and the boat would sail through Yamuna which was exactly behind the Taj Mahal. Let us explore the top ten unhidden facts and stories related to the world famous TAJ MAHAL.
Out of the Seven Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal is one. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which attracts more than 1 million tourists every year. In the year 2001 more than 2 million people visited Agra, in which more than 200,000 visitors were foreigners. The entry tickets to Taj are cheaper for Indian as compared to foreigners. Vehicles causing pollution are not allowed near the Taj complex. Either visitors have to walk to the complex or catch an electric bus. The Taj Mahal is one of India’s most widely accepted and admired works of art. This famous landmark every year attracts 2-3 millions of visitors.
9. An Epitome of love
Arjumand Bano Begum was very beautiful, the great shah Jahan fell in love with her looks and married her. She was the third wife of Shah Jahan. He used to refer her with the name Mumtaz Mahal which means in Hindi “the jewel of the Palace” or “Chosen One of the Palace”. Shah Jahan lost his Mumtaz when she was giving birth to her 14h child. People says that he was so much shaken up by the death of her that within months all his hair and beard turned into snow white. Shah Jahan built this in the memory of Mumtaz. She was the inspiration behind this world famous monument.
8. 22 Years of construction
The Taj Mahal is a world famous mausoleum and it means “crown of the palaces” in English. History reveals that around 22 Years were spent in the Construction of Taj Mahal. It started in 1631 and ended in the year 1654. This marvelous piece of Architecture is a great Combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian Architecture Style. The Shahjahan used to refer this unique monument as jewel of the palaces.
7. Marbles and Tombs
Pure white marbles are used in the construction of Taj Mahal. Many types of marbles were used and they were brought from many different states of India & countries including China, Arabia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. 30 varieties of precious and semi precious stone were used in Taj Mahal. Many precious stones were ripped off by the Britishers during their rule in India. In order to repay for it Lord Curzon, arranged a renovation and also gifted a chandelier which is still hanging in the interior chambers of Taj. One of the most striking features of Taj Mahal is its large white dome which is also known as ‘onion dome’ because of its unique shape. The height of the largest dome among the all is around 35 meters and is surrounded with 4 other smaller domes. 99 names of Allah were inscribed as calligraphy on the sides of the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal and also there are calligraphies on the tomb which praises Mumtaz. The full height of the Taj Mahal is almost 171 meters.
6. Other facts
Around 320 million Indian rupees were spent on the Construction of this Masterpiece Monument. According to experts 22000 laborers worked day and night for years under the guidance of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Books disclose that Ustad Lahauri was the great designer behind this beautiful monument. He facilitated 22,000 people to build this impressive building including painters, stonecutters, embroiderer and many others artists. More than1000 Elephants were used as a transportation mean of construction materials from the various parts of India to Agra. Passages from holy Quran have been inscribed as decorative elements throughout the complex of Taj Mahal.
5. Camouflaging effect of Taj
According to experts Taj Mahal changes its color at different times of the day. Some people think that the unique feature of changing colors of this beautiful monument depicts different moods of a Woman, especially the mood of the Emperor’s queen. The color changes from a pinkish hue in the morning to the milky white in the evening and golden in night when the monument dome lit by the moon.
There are various popular myths about Taj Mahal. History says that Shah Jahan also planned to construct a black Taj on the basin of Yamuna. It is said that he wanted the new monument to be exactly the same as Taj Mahal but in black marble instead of white. But his dream could not turn into reality as he was thrown out by his son Aurangzeb before it could happen. The base of black Taj mahal can still be seen across the river Yamuna. There is another popular myth that after completion of Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan ordered to cut off the hands of all the workers. It was done with the intention that this unique masterpiece could not be duplicated.
3. Secret of Pillars
There are four minarets in Taj Mahal. All are deliberately constructed slightly tilted from the platform. It is done as a precautionary measure at the times of earthquakes. If there is earthquake and the minarets fell, they would fall away from the main structure i.e. tomb. Without causing any harm to the magnificent piece of art. All the four sides of the Taj Mahal are completely identical creating surprisingly mirror image for the visitors on each side. It is based on the principles of self-replicating geometry and right equilibrium of architectural fundamentals.
2. Glimpse of Male supremacy
After the death of Shah Jahan, he was laid to rest besides the tomb of Mumtaz in Taj Mahal. He built this for the love of his life. The monument signifies love, romance and beauty. It inspires a romantic tale just like Romeo and Juliet. But among all the love and romance again male supremacy is highlighted. The Taj Mahal is made perfectly symmetrical in each and every way, except for the tombs–the two tombs inside the main chamber are not equal in size. The tomb of Shah Jahan is uplifted more than that is of Mumtaz. This is because the males have more authority so male tomb had to be superior to the female tomb.
1. Temple or Tomb
An Indian writer has claimed that the Taj Mahal in reality is a Lord Shiva Temple. He filed a petition but was rejected. No one has ever dared to challenge this eternal love story except this man. He believes that the whole world has been fooled. According to him it is an ancient Hindu temple of Shiva. He claims that it is a corrupt version of Shiva’s Palace. He believes that the love story of shah Jahan and Mumtaz is a fairy tale and nothing like happened in reality. Since Shah Jahan’s time many rooms remained sealed and are still unreachable to the general public. Some says they contain statues of Shiva and other objects used in temples. During the time of Muslim rulers the emperor’s family was buried in temples and buildings which were captured from Hindus. Humayun, Akbar and Safdarjung all are buried in the similar manner in such mansions.