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Taj Mahal Architecture - Design and Layout
 
Location of Taj Mahal: Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Architecture of Taj Mahal : Mughal Architecture
Famous As: 7th Wonder of the world
Taj Mahal Was Built By: Mughal Emperor Shahjahan

Overlooking the River Yamuna, and visible from the fort in the west, the Taj Mahal stands at the northern end of vast gardens enclosed by walls. Though its layout follows a distinctly Islamic theme, representing Paradise, it is above all a monument to romantic love. Shah Jahan built the Taj to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal ("Elect of the Palace"), who died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child, in 1631.

Architects at Work: The names of the chief architects who worked on the Taj have been noted. Ismail Afandi, who designed the hemispheres and built the domes was from Turkey. Qazim Khan came from Lahore to cast the gold finial that would top the dome. Chiranji Lal was called from Delhi to pattern the mosaic. From Shiraz in Persia came master calligrapher, Amanat Khan. Stone cutter Amir Ali was from Baluchistan. Ustad Isa of Tukey is however credited to have been the main architect. It is believed that his design embodied much of what the Emperor wanted to express.

Approach to the Taj Mahal: The walled complex is approached from the south through a red sandstone forecourt, Chowk-i Jilo Khana, whose wide paths, flanked by arched kiosks, run to high gates in the east

and west. The original entrance, a massive arched gateway topped with delicate domes and adorned with Koranic verses, stands at the northern edge of Chowk-i Jilo Khana, directly aligned with the Taj, but shielding it from the view of those who wait outside. Today's entrance, complete with security checks, is through a narrow archway in the southern wall to the right of the gate.

Garden mausoleum: The mighty marble tomb stands at the end of superb gardens designed in the charbagh style so fashionable among Moghul, Arabic and Persian architects. Dissected into four quadrants by waterways, they evoke the Islamic image of the Gardens of Paradise, where rivers flow with water, milk, wine and honey. The "rivers" converge at a marble tank in the centre that corresponds to al-Kawthar, the celestial pool of abundance mentioned in the Koran. Today only the watercourse running from north to south is full, and its precise, glassy reflection of the Taj is a favourite photographic image

 
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