The Taj Mahal (/ˈtɑːdʒ məˈhɑːl/ often /ˈtɑːʒ/;, from Persian and Arabic, "crown of palaces", pronounced [ˈt̪aːdʒ mɛˈɦɛl]; also "the Taj") is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art" in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
- Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.
- Edwin Arnold in: Shefali Patel A Penchant for Love, iUniverse, 2006, p. 246
- Along with the masses of labourers flocking to Agra once news of its [Taj Mahal] inception spread, materials for the construction had also begun arriving; red sand stone from local quarries in Fatehpur Sikri and marble dug from the hills of far-off Makrana in Rajasthan. In order to transport the marble, a ten-mile long ramp of tampered earth was built through Agra on which an unending parade of thousand elephants and bullock carts continually dragged the blocks of marble to the building site.
- Jim Ford in: Don't Worry, Be Happy: Beijing to Bombay with a Backpack, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, p. 442.
- One can imagine having a procedural rule that anything ambiguous should be treated as the Taj Mahal unless we see that it is labelled "fog"...The motorist replies: "What sort of rule is this? Surely the best guarantee I can have that the fog is fog is if I fail to see the sign saying 'fog' because of the fog."
- Michael Frayn in: Collected Columns, Methuen, 2007, p. 134
- The soul of Iran incarnate in the body of India.
- M. Grousset on the blended architecture [of Taj Mahal] which developed in India in the creation of Taj Mahal quoted in: Rajendra Prasad Dube in: Jawaharlal Nehru: A Study in Ideology and Social Change Mittal Publications, 1988, p. 35
- Different people have different views of the Taj but it would be enough to say that it has a life of its own that leaps out of marble, provided you understand that it is a monument of love. As an architectural masterpiece, nothing could be added or substracted from it.
- Bina Gupta in: Shrine Of Love- Taj Mahal, binaguptapoetry.com
- Shrine of Love -Taj Mahal
I am the tear drop of a grieving lover
A magnificent declaration of his ardor
A marble symphony by maestro carvers
A magnum opus, an aria by Wagner to savor
I am the tomb royal of departed Mumtaz Mahal
I change many hues like her moods that dapple
I am homage to Shah’s Queen that held him in thrall
My exquisite inlaid work in crafting do my visitors enthrall
I am one of the declared seven wonders of the world
Global admirers are amazed as my beauty is unfurled
Like unveiling of a blushing bride under many covers
My beauty too unfolds in layers beckoning in whispers
I am the legendary love epic’s poetry in marble, a tomb immortal
Lovers exchange vows before me with faces lit like candles
Yet for all my magnificence and breathtaking glory
I am tainted by amputated limbs of craftsmen, a fact gory
I am piece de resistance, an epitome of architectural magnificence
For centuries I am a benevolent provider to many folks in silence
As visitors stand n behold me in awe they forget my real significance
I am a symbol of death, a tomb signifying all life ends as it is transient
I am the tear drop of a grieving lover
A magnificent declaration of his ardor
A marble symphony by maestro carvers
A magnum opus, an aria by Wagner to savor.
- Bina Gupta in:"Shrine Of Love- Taj Mahal"
- When you do music concerts at Taj Mahal and the Acropolis, you have to be careful about your performance being appropriate with the place that surrounds you. It has to be appropriate to the culture - it should fit the building behind you, the environment you are playing it in and the culture of that place.
- Yianis Hrysomallis in:Ultimate Yanni, Gulfnews.com
- The Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders. My guide assures me that it is 'perhaps the most beautiful building in the world.' Following its advice, we drove out to have our first look at the marvel by the light of the setting sun. Nature did its best for the Taj. The west was duly red, and orange, and yellow, and, finally, emerald green, grading into pale and flawless blue towards the zenith. Two evening stars, Venus and Mercury, pursued the sunken sun. The sacred Jumna was like a sheet of silver between its banks... Nature, I repeat, did its best. But though it adorned, it could not improve the works of man. The Taj, even at sunset, even reverberated upside down from tanks and river, even in conjunction with melancholy cypresses— -the Taj was a disappointment...
My failure to appreciate the Taj is due, I think, to the fact that, while I am very fond of architecture and the decorative arts, I am very little interested in the expensive or the picturesque, as such and by themselves. Now the great qualities of the Taj are precisely those of expensiveness and picturesqueness, Milk-white amongst its dark cypresses, flawlessly mirrored, it is positively the Toteninsel of Arnold Boecklin come true...
The Taj itself is marred by none of the faults which characterize the minarets. But its elegance is at the best of a very dry and negative kind. Its ‘ classicism ’ is the product not of intellectual restraint imposed on an exuberant fancy, but of an actual deficiency of fancy, a poverty of imagination. One is struck at once by the lack of variety in the architectural forms of which it is composed. There are, for all practical purposes, only two contrasting formal elements in the whole design — the onion dome, reproduced in two dimensions in the pointed arches of the recessed bays, and the flat wall surface with its sharply rectangular limits. When the Taj is compared with more or less contemporary European buildings in the neo-classic style of the High Renaissance and Baroque periods, this poverty in the formal elements composing it becomes very apparent. ... But it is made of marble. Marble, I perceive, covers a multitude of sins.
- Aldous Huxley, Jesting Pilate
- Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice [Taj Mahal] has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory.
- Emperor Shah Jahan in: [Mahajan, Vidya Dhar (1970). Muslim Rule In India. p. 200] and David Carroll, Newsweek, inc. Book Division The Taj Mahal, Newsweek, 1973
- "Aye, build it on these banks," the monarch said,
"That when the autumn winds have swept the sea,
They may come hither with their falling rains,
A voice of mighty weeping o'er her grave."
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1832 (1831), 'The Taj-Mahal, at Agra - The Tomb of Muntaza Zemani'
- Yeah, I can understand that. All the splendor of the Taj Mahal, without the inconvenience and expense of traveling to India.
- Stephenie Meyer in: Eclipse, Hachette UK, 26 February 2009, p. 109
- ...approached the Taj with a radiant smile, ready to experience great beauty. We were privileged to see the delicate semi-precious-stone floral inlays and lacey marble screen carvings through his sensitive fingertips, And to hear him describe what his fingers saw. I shut my eyes and let my fingers trace exquisite inlay patterns and follow the intricate carvings. I felt the power of enduring beauty created by craftsman centuries before and learned from Rodney a deeper way of seeing.
- Rodney Mohag, blind Fulbright student expressing his views on Taj Mahal as explained by Jean Durgin Harlan Landing Right Side Up in Nehru's India: Field Notes from a Punjab Sojourn, iUniverse, 12 November 2012, p. 143
- It was built up by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who wanted his beloved wife to be remembered by one and all, with help of architectural geniuses like Ustad Isa, Isa Mohammad Effendi and Puru of Persia. The result that came across was a fine piece of Mughal architecture, fused with Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles; or is believed so by many.
- Taj Mahal Organization in: Italian Architect of Taj Mahal Myth,tajmahal.org.
- The Taj Mahal is exquisite. Transported slab by slab to the United States and re-erected, it might be wholly admirable.But in India it is a building wastefully without function; it is only a despot’s monument to a woman, not of India, who bore a child every year for fifteen years.
- V. S. Naipaul in The Indian Trilogy.
- Quoted in The Daily Egyptian (21 August 1965), p. 4; Curtain Raisers: Essays, Reviews, Letters by K. Natwar Singh, p.150
- Every drop of rain that falls in Sahara Desert says it all It's a miracle. All God's creations great and small, the Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal That's a miracle. Test tube babies being born, mothers, fathers dead and gone It's a miracle.
- Walter Pennacchietti in: La sottile linea rosa, Lulu.com, p. 18.
- Shah Jahan, who proved
an emperor to be shorter than a lover,
who turned a grave into a temple
who gave his beloved a place of God
and converted love into a prayer.
- If I'd ever grown prosperous like he was,
I'd not have waited for my beloved's death
before I erected a Taj Mahal.
- She ran off with my plunge router guide. How am I supposed to build that scale model of the Taj Mahal out of cherry wood without my plunge router guide?
- Carmen Sandiego in: The Great Train Slobbery, CBS Interactive Inc., 15 December 1992
- It is good to recall that three centuries ago, around the year 1660, two of the greatest monuments of modern history were erected, one in the West and one in the East; St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Between them, the two symbolize, perhaps better than words can describe, the comparative level of architectural technology, the comparative level of craftsmanship and the comparative level of affluence and sophistication the two cultures had attained at that epoch of history. But about the same time there was also created—and this time only in the West—a third monument, a monument still greater in its eventual import for humanity. This was Newton's Principia, published in 1687. Newton's work had no counterpart in the India of the Mughals. I would like to describe the fate of the technology which built the Taj Mahal when it came into contact with the culture and technology symbolized by the Principia of Newton.
- Abdus Salam in: Ideals and Realities: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam, World Scientific, 1989, p. 5
- Taj has been described as having been designed by giants and finished by jewellers.
- Renu Saran in: Wonders of the World , Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd, 22 April 2014, p. 10
- As a tribute to a beautiful woman and as a monument of enduring love, it reveals its subtleties when one visits it without being in a hurry. Its ctangular base is in itself a symbolic of the different sides from which to view a beautiful woman. The main gate is like a veil to a woman’s face which should be lifted delicately, gently and without haste on the wedding night. In Indian tradition, the veil is lifted gently to reveal the beauty of the bride. As one stands inside the main gate of it, his eyes are directed to an arch which frames the Taj.
- Renu Saran in: “Wonders of the World”, p. 10
- We had admired the presidential palace and parliament houses, paused beside the striking India Gate, inspected the 16th Century Humayun's Tomb--a forerunner to the Taj Mahal--and cruised past scores of international embassies.
- Harry Shattuck in: The old and the new of Delhi, Houston Chronicle, 14 May 2006
- It is a celebration of woman built in marble and that’s the way to appreciate it.
- Susant Pal in: Imbibed In Faith, Partridge Publishing, 2014, p. 104
- The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines. These changes, they say, depict the moods of woman.
- Susant Pal in: "Imbibed In Faith" P.104
- It rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.
- Rabindranath Tagore in: Dini Von Mueffling The 50 Most Romantic Things Ever Done, N.A. Talese, 1997, p. 50
- Alternate version: A tear drop on the cheek of eternity.
- Rabindranath Tagore in:"Imbibed In Faith" P.104
- An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, it is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
- It is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. Its recognised architectonic beauty has a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and convex and light shadow; such as arches and domes further increases the aesthetic aspect. The colour combination of lush green scape reddish pathway and blue sky over it show cases the monument in ever changing tints and moods. The relief work in marble and inlay with precious and semi precious stones make it a monument apart.
- Unesco in: "Taj Mahal"
- The most impressive in the Taj Mahal complex next to the tomb, is the main gate which stands majestically in the centre of the southern wall of the forecourt. The gate is flanked on the north front by double arcade galleries. The garden in front of the galleries is subdivided into four quarters by two main walk-ways and each quarters in turn subdivided by the narrower cross-axial walkways, on the Timurid-Persian scheme of the walled in garden. The enclosure walls on the east and west have a pavilion at the centre.
- Unesco in: "Taj Mahal"
- It is a perfect symmetrical planned building, with an emphasis of bilateral symmetry along a central axis on which the main features are placed. The building material used is brick-in-lime mortar veneered with red sandstone and marble and inlay work of precious/semi precious stones.
- Unesco in: "Taj Mahal"
- Although an important amount of repairs and conservation works have been carried out right from the British period in India these have not compromised to the original qualities of the buildings.
- Unesco in: "Taj Mahal"
- On the 6th of Bahman (4 Rajab 1041/26 January 1632), the fruit of the tree of sovereignty and caliphate, the prince of lofty worth Sultan Shah Shuja' Bahadur returned to the royal camp from Akbarabad, along with the 'Umdat ul-Mulk Wazir Khan and the noble and chaste lady Sitti Khanan, who held the post of the deputy (wikalat) and chief Lady-in-Waiting of that one of praiseworthy habits, acquired the honors of accompanying the litter encompassed by unlimited pardon and forgiveness; and all along the way, they provided food and largesse to the poor.
- After reaching Akbarabad, it was entrusted to earth in the heaven-like tract of land (sarzamin-i-bihisht-a'in) situated to the south side of the Abode of the Caliphate, overlooking the river Jumna, which had belonged to Raja Man Singh; and to acquire it, His Majesty, the Caliph-ranked, had given in exchange ( 'iwad ) a mansion (manzil), loftier than the said mansion, to his grandson Raja Jai Singh. And on the top of the illumined grave, at first in haste (az ru-i-tajil), a small domed building (gumbadi-mukhtasar) was built (asas nihadand), so that the eye of a non-confidante (na-mahram) does not fall on the holy precincts (haram) of the grave of that veiled one of the curtains of chastity.
- And plans were laid out (tarah afganand) for a magnificent building ( 'imarat-i-alishan ) and a dome (gumbadi) of lofty foundation (rafi-buniyan), which for height (dar bulandi) will, until the Day of Resurrection, remain a memorial to the sky-high aspiration of His Majesty the Second Sahib Qiran and which for strength (darustwari) will display the firmness of the intentions of its builder. And the far-seeing engineers (muhandisan) and art-creating architects (mimaran-i-sanat-afrin) estimated the cost of this building (imarat) would be 40 lakhs of rupees.
- Subsequently, in that heaven-like tract of land (sarzamin), the heavenly plinth (asman asas) was laid for a mausoleum (rauza) of lofty foundation ( 'alabunyan ), which, in strength and loftiness and high dignity and magnificence of rank, is the honor of the terrestrial world, which is completely of white marble slabs, and which has arranged round it a pleasing garden having the marks of Paradise. On one side of it, a lofty mosque was built and on the other side, a replica thereof, a guest house (mihman-khana) of lofty expanse: and on its sides (atrafash), there were constructed (bunyad nazirafta) rooms (hujaraha) and portals (aiwanha), and before its gates, several newly fashioned (nau-a'in) plazas and joy-increasing sarais (sara), which have no like and equal on the surface of the earth in spaciousness of area and novelty of design. In the space of twenty years, that building ('imarat), the foundation (buniyadash) which is the eighth layer of the world and whose cap is the tenth roof of the sky, was completed at a cost of 50 lakhs of rupees; and through its extreme loftiness of dignity and rank and excellence of decoration and ornament, it has become the honor of the ancient roof of the azure sky.
- Padshahnama by Muhammad Waris
- Translated in "Taj Mahal: The Illumined Tomb : an Anthology of Seventeenth-century Mughal and European Documentary Sources, Volume 1" by Wayne Edison Begley,Ziyaud-Din A. Desai, p . 43—44
Giles Tillotson in: Taj Mahal, Profile Books, 1 October 2010
- It is the queen of architecture. Other buildings may be as famous, but no other is so consistently admired for a beauty that is seen as both feminine and regal. Many people feel that to class Taj Mahal as architecture is a mistake: it is both too personal and too magnificent.
- In: p. 1
- To too many people in India it suggests not only a building but a blend of tea. It is also cry of admiration as Wah Taj!, indicative of Mughal sophistication and elegance...There are several appropriations to the building name to brand names such as of hotels, tea, saffron, and bars of soap and so forth.
- In; P.2
- It is a tomb, most famous of the Mughals, whose empire flourished in India between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, enshrining the remains of the fifth emperor of the dynasty, [[w:Shah Jahan|Shah Jehan| and those of his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died before him and construction of the complex began immediately.
- In: p. 3
- The building’s [[beauty is a metaphor for hers [Mumtaz Mahal] and is thus contemplated as feminine. It is builder's feeling for the woman interred within. What else but passion, they ask, could have inspired something so perfect?
- In: P.4
- The idea of Taj as an expression of love has made it a favorite destination for honeymooners... observing the ritual of getting photograph taken while seated on a marble bench as a backdrop. Such images are so widely circulated that Princess Diana had to appear in this pose alone on a royal tour of India shortly before the break-up of her marriage with Prince Charles, to convey to the world her sense of loneliness and loss.
- The bench was a later addition, about 100 years ago, quoted in: p. 4
- So grand a structure cannot be purely and simply a tomb.
- Wayne Begley commenting on the ideological agenda of Taj Mahal, quoted in: p. 6
- As a symbol of love it does not quite work for her, since its overwhelming beauty demands a passive response that is irritating to the adventurous.
- Ebba Koch in: p. 6
- Its secondary career has been as a symbol of India. The prize piece of Indian heritage, it is seen to embody the country’s celebrated history and civilization...Elevated to the national symbol by outsiders, not until about 1900 was it accepted as such by Indians.
- In: P.6
- Early Indian visitors to the Taj, who came either as pilgrims or sightseers, were far outnumbered by those going elsewhere. And this continues. Today it is seen by two million Indians per year. The Tirupati temple in southern India, meanwhile welcomes nearly twelve million pilgrims per year. Yet it is the Taj that is recognized as the symbol of India.
- In: p. 6
- The other seeming oddity of its role as a national symbol is that it has achieved this status for Indians in spite of it being Islamic.
- In: P.6
- The year 2005 was declared as the buildings 350th anniversary, and in September of that year, a crowd of people collectively offered at the building a shawl measuring 100 m in length....as a standard gesture of congratulations meted out to persons but offering a shawl at a tomb is a religious rite in Islam. To avoid any misunderstanding the members of this crowd were at pains to point out that they represented many different religions and theirs was a ‘secular shawl’. Reverence for the Taj was thereby removed from any specifically ‘Islamic’ context and a common ownership was declared.
- In: P.7-8
- No one it seems is willing to play by the rules. The original builders overlooked orthodoxy (Islamic), and modern devotees overlook unwanted historical associations, both in order to shape the Taj according to their own desires.
- In: p. 8
- One of the first to do [including Taj under the Seven Wonders of the world] so was the French physician François Bernier, who was present in India at the time of its construction and averred: 'this monument deserves much more to be numbered among the wonders of the world than the pyramids of Egypt’, which he described by comparison as ‘unshapen masses and heaps of stone’. The Taj has achieved inclusion among the New Seven Wonders of the World, the subject of a worldwide popular internet vote organized by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.
- In: P.11
- There was a major restoration programme initiated by Lord Curzon. His efforts at the Taj Mahal have had a mixed reception. They are often judged to be largely benign, and they even received complimentary accolades from Jawaharlal Nehru. Post-colonial critics of the Raj have predictably been less willing to exonerate this exemplar of aristocracy.
- In: p. 14
- ...how Mughal is the name Taj Mahal anyway? It is usually said that the name derives from Mumtaz Mahal, the title given to the empress which means ‘select of the palace.’ There is room for doubt about this; ‘taj’ need not be abbreviation of ‘mumtaz’ since it is itself a perfectly good Persian word meaning ‘crown’. It is also worth noting that the building is not called Taj Mahal in the contemporary Mughal sources. Abdul Hamid Lahauri, the author of Padshahnama, the official history of Shah Jahan’s reign calls it rauza-i munawwara, meaning the illumined or illustrious tomb (where rauza implies specifically a tomb in a garden.
- In: P.14
- Above the inner domes, which is radiant like the hearts of angels, has been raised another heaven-touching, guava-shaped dome, to discover the minute mathematical degrees of which would confound even the celestial geometrician. Crowning this dome of heavenly rank, the circumference of whose outer girth is 110 yards, there has been affixed a golden filial 11 yards high, glittering like the sun, with its summit rising to a total height of 107 yards above the ground.
- Abdul Hamid Lahauri in Padshanama quoted in: p. 86
- At the corner of the white marble platform, which is 23 yards above the level of the ground, stand four minarets, also of marble, with interior staircases and capped by cupolas, which are 7 cubits in diameter and rise to a total of 32 cubits from the pavement of the said platform to the filial, appearing as it were, like ladders reaching towards the heavens.
- Abdul Hamid Lahauri in Padshanama quoted in:p.86
- Its designers drew inspiration from three related traditions: the architecture of the Mughals' central Asian homeland; the buildings erected by earlier Muslim rulers of India, especially in the Delhi region; and the much older architectural expertise of India itself.
- In: p. 46
- For a building that is supposedly a symbol of love, it has generated a lot of anger. Or rather, some people have been angered by what others have said about it, and have felt called on to defend its honour.
- In: p. 85
The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic CultureEdit
Nerina Rustomji]] in: The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture, Columbia University Press, 1 October 2013
- The interior dome of the mausoleum was built to evoke eternity, since it held a single tone for nearly half a minute. What is remarkable about it is not only the complete and sophisticated program that included architecture, inscriptions and floral imagery to project a permanent garden, but also the intention that the complex would be visited by a large public purpose.
- Ebba Koch in: p. 178
- It was intended as an earthly reflection of paradise not just for Mumtaz Mahal, but also for the visitors who would visit it over the years. In fact the larger Taj complex with its forecourt of the Jilaukhana complex and the surrounding bazar and caravanserai zone were meant to accommodate travelers.
- In: P.154
- It is a special case because it illustrates both intention to represent a Paradise on earth and reception of its message. While it is unique in scale and dimension, it also exemplifies the special place that gardens held for the Mughal dynasty.
- In: P.179
The minar of the Taj Mahal are slightly tilting Out ward. This feature ensure that during a earthquake the massive Mubarak will fall outward ans spare the magnificent dome and central structure.