Travel in India

The Majestic Taj Mahal
By:Thom Sanders

The Taj Mahal is one of the eight wonders of the world, and rightly so, its architectural beauty is a sight to behold and is a fantastic reason to visit India on one of the many India holidays that are available. This article will take a little look at the history of the Taj Mahal and prime you for a trip to this fantastic monument.

The Taj Mahal is by far the most elegant and impressive of the monuments constructed by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Constructed of smooth white marble it's a breathtaking sight, especially at sunrise and sunset when the structure seems to glow in the soft light. The thick, low, ground fog that occurs some morning also adds to this ethereal image by making the building appear as if floating on clouds.

The Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan, was the person who commissioned this impressive building in memory to his wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal. The monument is an "elegy in marble" a representation of the love between husband and wife. The Taj Mahal, Crown Palace in English, is the great Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at its lowest level; in later years Shah Jahan's grave was also added to the site.

The construction of this magnificent monument took just over twenty two years, reaching completion in 1648, and involved the work of over twenty thousand labourers and skilled craftsmen. It was designed by the renowned Islamic architect of the age, Ustad 'Isa, as listed in the construction documents. Also noted was that fact that the construction of the Taj Mahal drew craftsmen from all across the country as well as from places further a field, as far as Baghdad in some cases.

The monument is constructed on a large base in the form of an unequal octagon. The buildings on this base compromise of one large fifty-eight feet diameter dome, which soars to a height of over two hundred feet, surrounded by four smaller domed chambers. Further out from the central dome are four slender minarets which rise to a height just shy of the main dome. Although appearing very plain white from a distance, the outside the inner sections of the monument are actually highly decorated with engravings and inlays of flowers. The inner chambers are vividly decorated with Islamic scenes and the archways feature passages from the Holy Qur'an.

Overall the Taj Mahal makes for a great historical site to visit when in India and Family activity holidays are sure to be enriched by the experience.

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