The Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the World and has been a monument of pride for all Indians. There are many stories and rumors that surround this monument, some of which are untrue and some can be proven. This wonder has a beautiful architecture that has been an inspiration for many artists. Here are some facts about the Taj Mahal might be you do not know.
Also see: Fascinating Facts About Eiffel Tower
1. In the memory of Mumtaz
A lot of people know that the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor of Shah Jahan after the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Few know the fact that Mumtaz was his third wife and died during the labor of their 14th child. The labor lasted thirty hours before she died.
2. Construction completed in more than two decades
The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 and finished in 1653. This is because even after the completion of the mausoleum in 1642, work continued for ten more years. And even after the construction, small refinements continued.
3. A very costly affair
The construction of this wonder cost an estimated 32 million rupees at the time. This amount now equates to about a billion US Dollars and more than fifty billion Indian Rupees.
4. Burial of many others
Not only were Mumtaz and Shah Jahan buried at the Taj Mahal, but Shah Jahan’s other wives and his favorite servant are also buried just outside the mausoleum.
5. A Persian architect
Even though Indians boast of the Taj Mahal as an Indian architecture marvel, unfortunately, the chief architect was not an Indian, but a Persian who went by the name of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
6. Elephants used for transportation
Over a thousand elephants transported the construction materials and supplies from various parts of the world to the city of Agra. Elephants were the main means of transportation during those times for all the heavy materials that went into the construction of the engineering marvel.
7. Stones from all over the world
From various parts of the world came the precious and semi-precious jewels that are set in the marble of the Taj Mahal. A total of 28 stones, including the turquoise from Tibet, jade from China, were used. The marble in which the stones have been embedded was transported from Rajasthan.
8. Minarets not straight
The minarets of the Taj Mahal lean a little bit outside so that in the event of a crash, no minaret falls onto the central structure. Also, they have been built at some distance from the central structure. This was don’t to ensure the safety of the tombs.
9. British Rule Garden Renovations
The original garden around the Taj contained roses and daffodils. But during the British Rule, the garden was manicured to look more like the lawns in London, England. Now we know why this garden looks like that.
10. Mosque in the Taj
There is a working mosque in which prayers are offered every Friday. It is an active religious structure, which is why the Taj Mahal should be visited only when one is dressed appropriately.
11. Artists and Architects not put to death
There is no proof for the deaths of the artists and Architects, which many people say they were sentenced to so that they could not repeat the feat. Historians suggest that they were required to sign contracts.
12. No decorations of the Graves
The original graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz have not been decorated, and these lie in a plane crypt under the innermost chamber of the Taj Mahal. There is no decoration on these graves as the Islamic tradition forbids it.
13. British soldiers pried stones
Stones were removed from the Taj Mahal by British soldiers during the rebellion in 1857 by the sepoys. There are many other things that were taken, and by whom, is not known by anyone. Also, the British Viceroy at the end of the 19th century ordered the restoration of the monument.
14. 20,000 laborers
Amazing is the fact that twenty thousand laborers came together and worked in this marvelous spectacle. These laborers came from all over Asia and stayed in areas near the site. These places have now been converted into bazaars.
15. Aurangzeb held Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan was not allowed to leave the palace after the completion of the Taj Mahal as his son Aurangzeb took over. The last eight years of his life were spent by him in a room from the window of which he could see the Taj. After his death, he was buried there beside his beloved, Mumtaz.
16. False structures
Around the Taj Mahal, various false structures have been constructed to confuse Germans, Japanese and Pakistanis bomber pilots during the times of conflict.
17. Guest House
On the western side of the Taj is a structure which is suggested to have been used as a guest house.
18. Yellow Marble
The marble of the Taj Mahal is turning yellow due to pollution. Various measures, including a four thousand square mile environmental radius around the monument, have been put into place to protect the site from pollution. Electric cars are now used to ply visitors to and from the monument.
19. Cracks in the Taj Mahal
Alarmingly, the structure is cracking at a fast rate due to the lack of groundwater beneath the structure. The monument is built on a wooden foundation, and if the river Yamuna on which the Taj is built, dries out, the foundation could fall apart.
20. Bangladeshi Replica
A Bangladeshi filmmaker constructed a replica of the Taj Mahal in 2008 so that people of his nation could see the monument without traveling to India. This replication took five years and cost about 56 million US dollars.
21. A masterpiece of Symmetry
This monument built by Shah Jahan has perfect symmetry, means the right and the left sides look totally the same.
The Taj Mahal doesn’t only have the architecture that can be marveled at, its history is equally amazing and there are a lot of secrets that this century-old beauty hides, which has made a trip to the Taj Mahal fascinating for everyone alike. There are also a few Modern Architectural Wonders of the World that show what we human can do.