Tajmahal

Taj Mahal, the white marble wonder is the most glorious example of the epitome of Mogul architecture in India. The mausoleum is situated on the banks of river Yamuna in Agra city of Uttar Pradesh state in India. The wonderful monument is the greatest draw for travelers to the city who throng in millions every year to admire its pristine beauty. It was built over a period of 22 years by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1631 and 1648 in the fond memory of his most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. White marble for the construction of Taj Mahal was brought from Makrana in Rajasthan while its red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri.

Literally meaning the Crown Palace, the awe inspiring Taj Mahal is a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site and is counted one among the Seven Wonders of the World. The monument has also won the prestigious National Heritage Award. A fleet of more than 1000 elephants was employed to carry construction material to the site. Precious stones like sapphire, crystal, turquoise, diamonds, jade, corals etc. were brought from far flung areas of Sri Lanka, China, Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet to embellish into the walls of Taj Mahal.

A 44 ft high huge dome with brass spire crowns the Taj Mahal. The inside octagonal central chamber of Taj Mahal with high ceilings houses the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. Four minarets stand on a raised platform around the main Taj Mahal complex that are inclined slightly outwards to prevent their falling on the dome in the event of a massive earthquake or other natural calamity. There is a Charbagh Garden in Taj Mahal which is laid on the principles of Garden of Paradise of Islamic beliefs. There are water channels and fountains in the garden representing the rivers of milk, honey, water and wine.

The main entrance to Taj Mahal is made of red sandstone. The gateway is inscribed with verses from the Holy Koran. Just before the main entrance of Taj Mahal is a raised platform which is a favorite spot for taking photographs of the monument. There is a museum on the western side of the monument where you can see a good collection of Mogul era miniature paintings and portraits. There is a gallery also which displays the original drawings of Taj Mahal.

Best time to visit Taj Mahal is during dusk and dawn when you can experience the full charm of the changing hues of the sunlight. The monument looks utterly beautiful during full moon night. Taj Mahal by night tours are also held two days before and after the full moon night for the tourists when one can have the most amazing views of the aura of Taj Mahal against the backdrop of star studded dark night. A large number of visitors turn out on weekends and holidays to view Taj Mahal and you may have to wait a long time to enter into the main complex. Taj Mahal remains open for the public from 6.00 AM to 7.30 PM every day except Fridays. Best time to visit Taj Mahal is from October to March when the weather remains cool and pleasant.

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