The Taj Mahal is a silent yet fabulous mausoleum built by Shah Jahan and bears testimony to the nobility and intensity of Shah Jahan´s affection for his wife. Never before or since has such an Impressive memorial been built by a man for a woman. Within the Islamic tradition, a tomb for a wife on such a scale was entirely without precedent: the only comparable structures anywhere are the pyramids and a few other grandiose monuments built by powerful rulers as tombs for themselves. By the contemporary French traveler Tavernier´s estimates it took 20,000 workmen and twenty-two years for this grand monument to take shape The domed mausoleum is 250 feet high and is housed within a walled enclosure measuring about 1,000 by 1,860 feet built over an area of some forty-two acres. It is vast enough to include all of St. Peter´s, including Bernini´s piazza.
The Taj Mahal was the great Mughal Emperor’s first great architectural project in a long series of monuments constructed during his thirty years of reign. Some of his other projects, such as the magnificent Red Fort in his new capital Shahjahanabad at Delhi (1639-1648), were more extensive and costly, but none ever surpassed the Taj in splendor. In the popular view, the years of effort and the incredible expense of building the Taj-like its inspired beauty-also furnish proof of Shah Jahan´s noble devotion and his great and abiding love.
The official accounts of the early years of Shah Jahan´s long reign (1628-1658), written in Persian by the court historians Muhammad Amin Qazwini and Abd al-Hamid Lahori note that Shah Jahan had been emperor for only about three years when Mumtaz Mahal died suddenly in 1631, a few hours after giving birth to their fourteenth child. Although she was the second of Shah Jahan´s three legal wives, Mumtaz Mahal (as her title implies) was obviously his favorite, being the mother of all (except one daughter) of his living children, as well as his constant companion during the nineteen years of their marriage.
Since portraits were never made of high-born women, we do not know what Mumtaz Mahal looked like, but she is reported to have been extremely beautiful. The official accounts of her death describe Shah Jahan´s grief in Persian literature. Lahori, writes how the emperor´s grief "crumbled his mountain-like endurance," that his beard turned white virtually overnight, and that he did not make a public appearance for one full week. The 17th century French traveler Francois Bernier records that Shah Jahan had been so enamored of his beautiful wife that "it is said that he was constant to her during life, and at death was so affected as nearly to follow her to her grave. In 1658 Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his rebellious and puritanical son Aurangzeb, and it was from the tower of the Fort that the aging ruler is popularly supposed to have spent the remaining eight years of his life gazing at the white silhouette of the Taj in the distance, seeking solace in the poignant beauty of the mausoleum he had built for his one true love.
Night Viewing the Taj Mahal
Timings: 8:30 PM - 12:30 AM
Fee: Rs 750 (Adult, Foreign)
Rs 510 (Adult, Indian)
Rs 500 (Child 3-15 years, Foreign & Indian)
Free Entry for Children below 3 years of age (Indians & Foreigners)
It is now allowed to view Taj Mahal for 5 nights in a month i.e. on the full moon night, two days before it and two days after it, except on Fridays or the month of Ramzan. The night viewing is opened for four hours from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM, for maximum of 400 people per day divided into eight batches of 50 people for duration of 30 minutes only. The forthcoming dates of full moon of 2011 and 2012 are given below. But as these dates are based on astrological calculations they are likely to vary.
The tickets for the night viewing of the Taj Mahal can be purchased one day (24 hours) in advance of the date of night viewing from the booking counter located in the office of the Archeological Survey of India, Agra Circle, 22 The Mall, Agra, Uttar Pradesh in between 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The tickets can also be cancelled at the above office on the same date of viewing before 1 PM with cancellation charges of 25% per ticket. Tourists must reach at Shilpgram (near Eastern gate of Taj Mahal) half an hour before the scheduled time mentioned on their tickets for security checks.
Should you like to book for tickets for night viewing you may please place requests to us by writing to email@example.com with your personal details.
An epitome of eternal love and passion, the Taj Mahal is located in the Indian city of Agra. Perhaps one of the finest instances of architectural brilliance and grandeur, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Its location at the bank of river Yamuna adds to the beauty of the total surrounding.
Nearest Airport for Taj Mahal:
Kheria Airport is the nearest airport to Taj Mahal that is located at the distance of 6 kilometers from the center of the city of Agra. Several buses, autos and rickshaws can be availed to reach the airport. But please do note regular flights to and from Agra do operate. The airport is mostly used for charter landings.
Nearest Railway Station to Taj Mahal
There are several railway stations located in the city of Agra, near to the Taj Mahal. 1) Agra Cantonment Railway Station, 2) Raja-ki-Mundi Railway Station and 3) Agra Fort Railway Station are the nearest railway stations to Agra which are connected to rest of the country by several trains.
Highlights of Taj Mahal:
The garden, Outlying buildings, The Darwaza, Taj Mahal masjid, The tomb, Minarets, The jali.
Best Time to Visit Taj Mahal:
Taj Mahal can be visited throughout the year in all the seasons. However, the full moon nights add to the beauty of the Taj as it looks Golden in the moonlight.
Places to see in Taj Mahal:
A formal Mughal style garden of Char Bagh (4x4) representing the replication of the Persian concept, which once were deep sunken pleasure gardens lay between the Taj Mahal and the Entrance Gates. There is a marble tank located at the central part of the garden that is known by the name of al Hawd al-Kawthar. The chain of fountains in the 4 channels modeled in the shape of the four channels of the Paradise in the Islamic traditions with trees lined besides add to the beauty of the garden. The garden is also called Charbagh and resembles the design of the Persian gardens.
Outlying buildings: there are several structures which are located around the Taj Mahal. Most of these structures are built of red sandstone. These buildings are also known for their architecture and designs. The domes of the other wives of Shah Jahan, the dome of the favorite servant of Mumtaz Mahal, the &39chattris&39, the viewing areas and the arcades comprise the outlying area of the Taj Mahal.
The Darwaza: it is the main entrance to the Taj Mahal. Brilliantly designed, the walls of the gateway are famous for the floral motifs inscribed on them and the geometric patterns that are found on the ceilings and walls.
Located at the western part of the Taj Mahal is a mosque that is said to be personally designed by the emperor himself. The mosque is also well known for its architectural brilliance. Keeping with the Mughal architectural element of symmetry, on the eastern side is a building balancing the Masjid on the western side.
The Mausoleum can be divided into the following three parts:
* Base- built according to the Persian architecture, is a square platform on which the tomb stands. It has many chambers that include the one which has the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan along with their graves located at the lower level. The four corners of the building have been chamfered to apparently look like an octagon.
* Dome- the dome of the tomb is one of the most striking characteristics of the tomb. Shaped like an onion the dome has numerous designs that include lotus as a prominent motif. The tip of the dome incorporates both the Persian and Hindu style of architecture.
* Finial- it is the tip of the dome that was made up of gold once upon a time. It is now made up of bronze with a moon at the top. It is well known for its beautiful decoration.
Minarets: The four towers or minarets each 40 meters high are meticulously designed with balconies and &39chattris&39 or the kiosks with floral motifs, lotus being the principle motif.
The ‘Jali’or the Lattice is a network of intricate carvings on marble that form a screen the cenotaphs. Brilliantly sculptured, it is made up of semi precious stones in the form of vines, leaves and flowers entwined with each other.
Shopping at Taj Mahal:
There are several markets and shops near Taj Mahal. Shoes, sandals, purses, wallets, clothing, furniture, lampshades, leather gloves, carpets, jackets and brassware are some of the numerous things available at the shopping areas located near Taj Mahal. The miniatures of the Taj Mahal made in marble stone in various shapes are also widely available in the shops near to the Taj Mahal. Sadar Bazaar, Munro Road and Kinari Bazaar are the major shopping areas located near the Taj Mahal.
Notable monuments & excursions near Taj Mahal
1. Fatehpur Sikri: it is a fort that used to be the capital of Mughal empire. Numerous buildings and structures have added to the grandeur of the fort.
2. Sikandra: On the way to New Delhi lie the town of Sikandra known for the mausoleum of the Grand Father of Shah Jahan and the most famous Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great.
3. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: it is a park that was used by the Maharaja Suraj Mull for hunting. The shallow water body at the place attract various species of birds from all over the continent.
4. Delhi: the capital city of India, Delhi has various places to visit including several monuments and structures. It is the center of Indian economy and politics.
5. Gwalior: it is a city that had been the home land of some of the famous dynasties like that of the Rajputs, Pratiharas, Kacchwahas and the Tomars. The place has numerous monuments, temples and palaces.
6. Jaipur: located at the distance of 240 kilometers from the city of Agra, it is a much sought after tourist destination famous for its forts and heritage buildings. It is one of the major commercial cities of the country.
7. Mathura: it is the birth place of Lord Krishna is immensely popular with the tourists for its temples and ghats at the bank of the river.
8. Vrindavan: it is a city that is full of the anecdotes from the childhood exploits of Lord Krishna. The temples at this place are very popular with the tourists.
Places to stay in Agra:
There are numerous options for travelers to this city to stay at. Form the Super Luxury Hotels to the modest guest houses to suit every budget and requirement: Some of the well known hotels are as under:
* ITC Mughal
* Radisson Agra
* Jaypee Palace Hotel
* The Grand Imperial
* The Gateway hotel Agra
* Howard Sarovar Portico
* Hotel Agra Ashok
* Hotel Clarks Shiraz
* Hotel Holiday Inn Agra
* Mansingh Palace
* Atithi Hotel
* Hotel Amar
* Grand Hotel
* Hotel Deedar E Taj
* Hotel Kant
* hotel Royale Residency
*Hotel Raj Mahal
* Hotel Oreint Taj
Hotel Amba Inn
Hotel Pushp Vila
Hotel Utkarsh vilas
B&Bs in Agra
Heritage Home Stay
Hotel Om Sai Palace
Garden Vila home Stay
Hotel Agra Mahal