Ultimate Guide to The Taj Mahal In India. India is known for its beauty and immense cultural diversity. People from all over the world recognize this country for its colourful culture as well as extravagant and magnanimous monuments built from the early medieval history to modern times. One such signature buildings representing India is the Taj Mahal.
Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is an icon of love and in recent years, has gained massive popularity among foreign as well as local travellers.
Important delegates visiting the country are also taken to the Taj so that they can appreciate the piece of architecture.
About Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal literally translates to the “crown of a palace”. Situated in Agra, near Delhi, the Taj Mahal actually is a mausoleum or a monument built on a burial ground.
According to history and numerous depictions, Mumtaz Mahal, the most favourite wife of Shah Jahan and the consort queen back then died, and Shah Jahan ordered the building of this extravagant monument to depict his love for her.
Designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and the best example of Mughalian Architecture, the Taj Mahal attracts numerous tourists every day from all parts of the country as well as from other parts of the world.
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History of Taj Mahal
Numerous documents found by archaeologists and various notes by scholars have provided lots of facts regarding the history of the building. As per history, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal met when he was 14 years old, and they both fell in love with each other.
Five years later, in the year 1612, they got married and were inseparable. She bore him 14 children, and during the birth of the 14th, in 1631, she died. Shah Jahan mourned her death and out of grief and loss ordered the building of an extravagant monument on the burial ground of his wife.
It is said that about 22,000 labourers and 1000 elephants were brought in from different places to build this monument. Craftsmen, engineers, stone-cutters, calligraphers were hired from the empire and from Persia to build the Taj Mahal. It took 22 years and 32 million rupees to complete the whole structure.
According to some myths, Shah Jahan did not want the craftsmen and the labourers to build any building similar to the Taj, and after the completion, he cut off the hands of the builders. No such proof has been found to date.
After the completion of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan was held captive by his own son Aurangzeb and later on after his death, he was placed beside his beloved wife, in the Taj Mahal.
The Architecture of Taj Mahal
Primarily a blend of Persian and Mughal style of architecture, the Taj Mahal comprises of the main tomb with minarets, gardens, outwards lying buildings, a mosque, and a guest house.
Built on 42 acres of land, beside the river Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is a completely symmetric building that astonishes everyone.
The central main tomb is a white marble made structure with a height of 35 meters that has an arched doorway and a magnificent dome with a finial. Beside the doorway, on both sides, there is a set of arched balconies that gives the tomb symmetry.
There are four 40 meters tall minarets at the four corners of the tomb that completes the structure. The main tomb is the chamber that houses the false funeral boxes as well as the actual graves of both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
From the interior, the intrinsic works are one of the finest. There is intense work of gemstones and stone carvings that glues your eyes.
Flower carvings on the marbles and delicate works on the walls of fine Persian style are very common. Incised paintings on the dome roof and the floor glorify the craftsmanship that the labourers had.
Intrinsic Jali or lattice work on the windows and balconies, archways, flower and plant motifs, calligraphy, the inscription of Persian poems and quotes, adds to the beauty that the Taj Mahal holds.
The garden lies in an area of 300 square meters and is divided into 16 sunken flowerbeds. There is a reflective pool made along the axis of the tomb of the Taj Mahal, which was built symmetrically so that the reflection of the building falls upon it.
On each side of the Taj Mahal lies two buildings made from red sandstones which perfectly mirror images of each other. Both buildings face the monument. One of the buildings is a mosque, and the other is thought to have served as a guest house.
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Taj Mahal Tickets, Entry Fee
The entry fee to the Taj Mahal complex is merely Rs 50 for all Indian travellers. If you are a foreigner national, then the entry fee is Rs 1100 for you, and if you are a tourist from any of the SAARC countries, then you have to pay an entry fee of Rs 540.
However, if you are planning to visit the main mausoleum, then you have to buy an additional ticket of Rs 200. Entry fee to any children under the age of 15 is absolutely free for all travellers.
The ticket counter remains open from one hour before sunrise to 45 minutes before sunset and is present just at the entrance gate of the Taj Mahal. You can also purchase the ticket online from www.asiagracircle.in & www.tajmahal.gov.in.
Taj Mahal Timings
Taj Mahal opens for visitors 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes before sunset. It remains closed on every Fridays.
Best Time to Visit Taj Mahal
There is no appropriate time to visit the Taj Mahal as it remains open on all days except Fridays. However, during the winter months from October to March, the tourist numbers are at their peak, and the weather remains comfortable for exploring.
The best time during the day to visit the Taj is during the time of sunrise and sunset when the sky becomes red, and the reflection falls on the pool. The view is spectacular and attracts many tourists then.
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How to Reach Taj Mahal, Agra
As the Taj Mahal is one of the prime spots in the country as well as the city of Delhi, it can easily be reached from the airport, bus stop or railway station.
The city of the Taj Mahal, Agra has its own airport which is connected to the nearby airports as well as the prime airports of the country by regular flights. You can reach the airport and then book a cab to the Taj which lies within 7 km from the airport.
There are regular buses that travel from the bus stop Idgah to Jaipur, Delhi, Fatepur-Sikri, Mathura, etc. If you are coming from Delhi, then you can book a cab.
The nearest railway station to Agra is the Agra cantonment which is well connected to the city of Delhi. Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express, and Taj Express are some of the deluxe trains.
Tourist Attractions Around Taj Mahal
Located at a distance of 2.5 kilometres from the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort occupies an area of 94 acres and was built in 1543. It is built with bricks and externally from sandstones.
The fort served as a residence for the Lodhis, Mughals, Suris, and Marathas after which it was captured by the British. Today it is open for public tourists as well as is used by the Indian Army for practice and daily parades.
Located on the opposite of the Taj Mahal, on the other side of the river Yamuna, Mehtab Bagh is situated on the flood plains exactly in alignment with the Taj Mahal. It covers an area of 25 acres and is an example of Charbagh. It was built by Babur.
Fatehpur Sikri is a town in Agra which was established by the Mughal ruler Akbar as his capital in 1571. The city was primarily designed to offer luxury to the famous and important members of the royal dynasty.
Fatehpur Sikri holds numerous important structures and architectural gems, like the Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Diwan-i-Aam, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Diwan-i-Khas, Ibadat Khana, etc.
The Taj Mahal, along with the neighbouring attractions, is a feather on the crown of our country India. It is recognized worldwide and serves as a signature icon. Everyone visiting this country as well as the residents must visit this iconic monument to experience its grandeur and the marvellous intrinsic work that it houses.