Jamal: [seeing the Taj Mahal ] Is this heaven?
Salim: You’re not dead Jamal.
An excerpt from the Oscar winning film – Slumdog Millionaire.
India is a bright mix of beguiling faces and places. See India with us and have a taste of its enticing and mesmerizing charm. Luminesce walks you through some of the most exotic parts of India which help you absorb the color of India like never before.
‘As the soft hazy light dawns across the history as I walk through a large red sandstone gate which opens up to a spacious courtyard. A few steps to the right and there it is. Watching it rest on a marble plinth, a white mausoleum flanked by four minarets, it’s like walking into a postcard.’
The Taj Mahal has had many flipping through dictionaries to find the right words to describe it. Some call it the poetry of architecture and some call it the immortal monument of love.
Having been the symbol of India for decades now, The Taj Mahal continues to mesmerize man. Built by the fifth Mughal emperor Shahjahan (1628 – 1658), this monument has immortalized the name of Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Shahjahan, in whose memory he built this stunning tomb.
Regarded as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. It is considered by western historians that its architectural beauty is yet to be surpassed. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj looks stunning at dawn and sunset. Appearing to glow on a full moon night, it also gives visitors on a foggy morning an illusion of it being suspended in the air when viewed from across the Yamuna River.
‘As I walk beside the strand of water that leads to the plinth, the Taj Mahal begins to unveil its intricacies as the haze begin to clear out.’
The Taj stands tall at a height of 213 feet on raised square platform with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principle of self –replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural element.
The Taj Mahal, which literally means the crown palace, houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal in its lower chamber. Constructed over a period of twenty two years, and took more than twenty thousand workers to build this piece of art. Completed in the year 1648 AD at a cost of 32 Millon Rupees. The Taj Mahal was the brainchild of Ustad Isa, the chief architect of the monument. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore and Multan, Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara were given the task of making the Taj Mahal an eternal wonder.
The entire mausoleum is decorated with inlaid designs of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the holy Qur’an and the bold scrollwork in a flowery pattern give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.
‘The milieu is lush and peaceful. There’s a sense of solace in here as I run my hand over the delicately curved ridges of the lattice marble screens.’
Adding more aura to the environment are the gardens which are based on the Persian garden plan style. Designed by Ali Mardan Khan, one of the nobles of Shah Jahan’s court, the Taj Mahal garden is the perfect place to flirt with paradise. Dividing the garden at the centre, four still pools reflect the astounding beauty of the Taj.
Apart from that, the mausoleum also consists of a mosque, a guest house and several other palatial buildings.
…As I make my way to the exit, it’s hard to resist turning back to have one final spectacle of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
That’s one off the bucket list!