Reading history books to know about a place, a movement, a culture, is something one used to do in earlier centuries; now, there is an amazing way to get acquainted to a time which you wee not there to see, a place which was something else from what it now is, and this is through traveling. By traveling to various lands you can explore the history and the cultural past of a society which has now become a living legend, and India is a rich place to explore such histories.
A trip to the historical places in India would definitely provide you a very enriching and exciting time on a travel tour. India has been colonized by Mughals, Portuguese, Britishers , from time to time, and in present time the country has a lot of structures that reflects the architectural inspiration drawn from these empires. If you crave for such experience, plan a trip to Agra, Uttar Pradesh, to behold the beautiful Taj Mahal, one of the top 10 historical monuments in India.
The Taj Mahal, a world recognized structure of beauty, is located in Agra, a small city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It stands tall by the banks of Yamuna river, while green gardens and pools of water surrounds it.
It is a mausoleum, which the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, commissioned to be made, in the memory of his third and beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is an exquisite structure and a giant of Mughal art and architecture. Worked with delicate and rich artistry, the monument was built around 1653, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The monument has been built in white marble entirely, and has taken inspiration from Persian architecture and Mughal style. The exteriors were decorated with rich and beautiful patterns while interiors were inlaid with semi precious stones. Reflective tiles had been used in the interiors parts, while many floral motifs form the best parts of the work. You can also see calligraphy of various Persian poems on many parts of the monument.
The inner chambers of the Taj Mahal, has the tombs of the emperor and his beloved queen, and though the real toms are at a much lower level and much simply designed, the cenotaphs, above them, are decorated in huge inlay work, carvings and skilled patterns, while both cenotaphs are surrounded by a protective screen or jali.
The entire monument is surrounded by green lush gardens, patterned in Mughal style, and the pathways are raised just like the marble water tank, which is built right in front of the Taj, whose water reflects the image of the Mahal. The tank is known as 'Hawd-al-Kawthar' or 'Tank of Abundance'. The gardens have an abundance of floral beauty and trees, which enhance the beauty of the monument.
Taj Mahal Mosque:
Though the Taj is recognized as a single entity by the entire world, it was built as a complex, with other red sandstone buildings surrounding the one white marble splendor. The Taj Mahal mosque is a part of this complex which stands absolutely opposite to the Taj, and is a huge area where the floor is designed in about 600 outlines for the prayer rugs, in black marble. In outer structure it is quite similar to the Jama Masjid of Delhi, with its three domes.
Also known as the Great Gate, it is the gateway to the Taj, and is designed as a fort, protecting the main building. It's arch resembles the arch of the tomb, and it also bears a lot of calligraphic verses, describing the Taj Mahal. With geometric designs, Petra dura inlay and floral motifs, it serves as much an attraction at the site as any other monument.
Important Facts about Taj Mahal:
·After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the British Raj robbed the monument of all its inlay work and took away the semi precious stones, and gems it was decorated with.
· The environmental pollution , risen due to the neighboring Yamuna, which is getting dirtier day by day, has caused serious threat to the monument, while its decreasing water level, is threating the foundation of the monument.
·The monument complex remains open for tourists every day in the week, except Fridays, from 6 am to 7 pm, while Fridays organize prayers in the neighboring mosque.
· In the month of February, a major festival called Taj Mahotsav, is celebrated for 10 days in the Shilpgram area near the monument, where many cultural and art shows take place every year.
·The surrounding areas, sell a lot of beautiful miniatures of Taj Mahal, which you can buy on a trip.