Taj Mahal (1983), Uttar
Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, was built by the
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658), grandson of Akbar the great, in
the memory of his queen Arjumand Bano Begum, entitled ‘Mumtaz Mahal’.
Mumtaz Mahal was a niece of empress Nur Jahan and granddaughter of
Mirza Ghias Beg I’timad-ud-Daula, wazir of emperor Jehangir. She was
born in 1593 and died in 1631, during the birth of her fourteenth
child at Burhanpur. Her mortal remains were temporarily buried in the
Zainabad garden. Six months later, her body was transferred to Agra to
be finally enshrined in the crypt of the main tomb of the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan.
The mausoleum is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna at a
point where it takes a sharp turn and flows eastwards. Originally, the
land where the Taj Mahal presently stands belonged to the Kachhwahas
of Ajmer (Rajasthan). The land was acquired from them in lieu of four
havelis as is testified by a court historian, Abdul Hamid Lahauri, in
his work titled the Badshah-Namah and the firmans (royal decrees). For
construction, a network of wells was laid along the river line to
support the huge mausoleum buildings. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers,
carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans
were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central
Asia and Iran. While bricks for internal constructions were locally
prepared, white marble for external use in veneering work was obtained
from Makrana in Rajasthan. Semi-precious stones for inlay
ornamentation were brought from distant regions of India, Ceylon and
Afghanistan. Red sandstone of different tints was requisitioned from
the neighbouring quarries of Sikri, Dholpur, etc. It took 17 years for
the monument complex to be completed in 1648.
In all, the Taj Mahal covers an area of 60 bighas, as the terrain
gradually sloped from south to north, towards the river, in the form
of descending terraces. At the southern point is the forecourt with
the main gate in front and tombs of Akbarabadi Begum and Fatehpuri
Begum, two other queens of Shah Jahan, on its south-east and
south-west corners respectively called Saheli Burj 1 and 2.
On the second terrace is a spacious square garden, with side
pavilions. It is divided into four quarters by broad shallow canals of
water, with wide walkways and cypress avenues on the sides. The water
channels and fountains are fed by overhead water tanks. These four
quarters are further divided into the smaller quarters by broad
causeways, so that the whole scheme is in a perfect char-bagh.
The main tomb of the Taj is basically square with chamfered
corners. The minarets here are detached, facing the chamfered angles
(corners) of the main tomb on the main plinth. Red sandstone mosque on
the western, and Mehman-Khana on the eastern side of the tomb provides
aesthetically a clear colour contrast.
The Taj has some wonderful specimens of polychrome inlay art both
in the interior and exterior on the dados, on cenotaphs and on the
marble jhajjhari (jali-screen) around them.
Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Friday closed; open for offering prayer in the mosque between 12 Noon to 2 P.M.
Night viewing on Full Moon Day and two days before and after it, excluding Fridays and in the month of Ramzan
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.
Rs. 250/- per head (ASI);
Rs. 500/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)
Rs. 500/- ticket of ADA is valid for the monuments of Agra Fort, Itimadi-ud-daula, Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandara and Fatehpur Sikri
(children up to 15 years free)
Fee for night viewing
Citizens of India