Inida: TAJ MAHAL
May 1, 2011
May 1, 2011
“A tear drop on the face of etirnity” , Tabindranath Tagore – Indian Poet.
Described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. This sublime Mughal Mausoleum is India’s tourist emblem. The Taj was built by
Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey overnight. Construction of the Taj began in the same year and was not completed until 1653. In total, 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. Specialists were brought in from as far afield as Europe to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura ( marble inlay work) made with thousands of semiprecious stones. The construction bill is believed to have run to 32 million rupees equivalent to about US$ 100 million today. Soon after the Taj Mahal’s completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Upon Shah Jahan’s death, Aurangzeb buried him in the mausoleum next to his wife.
Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur’an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan.The texts refer to themes of judgment and include:
Surah 91 – The Sun
Surah 112 – The Purity of Faith
Surah 89 – Daybreak
Surah 93 – Morning Light
Surah 95 – The Fig
Surah 94 – The Solace
Surah 36 – Ya Sin
Surah 81 – The Folding Up
Surah 82 – The Cleaving Asunder
Surah 84 – The Rending Asunder
Surah 98 – The Evidence
Surah 67 – Dominion
Surah 48 – Victory
Surah 77 – Those Sent Forth
Surah 39 – The Crowds
The calligraphy was created by a calligrapher named Abd ul-Haq, in 1609. Shah Jahan conferred the title of “Amanat Khan” upon him as a reward for his “dazzling virtuosity”.
The Taj Mahal’s pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight, glows softly pink at dawn, and at close of day reflects the fiery tints of the setting Sun. From an octagonal tower in the Agra Fort across the River Yamuna, Shah Jahan spent his last days as a prisoner of his son and usurper to the empire, Aurangzeb, gazing at the tomb of his beloved Mumtaz.
Sources: Wikipedia, Lonely Planet and UNESCO.