Friday, December 26, 2008


The Taj Mahal (Typical postcard image)
Author: Amal Mongia January 06-early morning
lubitel-expired ektachrome slide film
Uploaded to Wiki by English Wikipedia

The Taj Mahal represents the finest and most sophisticated example of Mughal architecture. Its origins lie in the moving circumstances of its commission and the culture and history of an Islamic Mughal empire's rule of large parts of India.
The distraught Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the mausoleum upon the death of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Today it is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in the world and while the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is an extensive complex of buildings and gardens that extends over 22.44 Hectares[a] and includes subsidiary tombs, waterworks infrastructure, the small town of 'Taj Ganji' and a 'moonlight garden' to the north of the river. Construction began in 1632 CE, (1041 AH), on the south bank of the River Yamuna in Agra, India and was completed in 1648 CE (1058 AH). The design was conceived as both an earthly replica of the house of Mumtaz in paradise and an instrument of propaganda for the emperor.
Who designed the Taj Mahal is unclear; although it is known that a large team of designers and craftsmen were responsible with Jahan himself taking an active role. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is considered the most likely candidate as the principal designer.

The Taj Mahal complex can be conveniently divided into 5 sections. 1. The riverfront terrace, containing the Mausoleum, Mosque and Jawab 2. the Charbagh garden containing pavilions. 3. the jilaukhana containing accommodation for the tomb attendants and two subsidiary tombs 4. The Taj Ganji, originally a bazaar and caravansarai only traces of which are still preserved, and finally, to the north of the river Yamuna, 5. the 'moonlight garden'. The great gate lies between the Jilaukhana and the garden. Levels gradually decend in steps from the Taj Ganji towards the river. Contemporary descriptions of the complex list the elements in order from the river terrace towards the Taj Ganji.

A 360° panoramic view
"Celestial Pool of Abundance"
Chahar Bagh "Gardens of Paradise"
Taj Mahal monuement in Agra
Source: Photo courtesy of Explore the Taj Mahal
Date 2007-09-11T04:56:02
Author: Donelson
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Taj Mahal mausoleum located in Agra, India
Image selected as picture of the day
English Wikipedia
December 4, 2005
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The focus of the Taj Mahal is the white marble tomb, which stands on a square plinth consisting of a symmetrical building with an iwan, an arch-shaped doorway, topped by a large dome. Like most Mughal tombs, basic elements are Persian in origin.
The focus of the Taj Mahal is the white marble tomb, which stands on a square plinth consisting of a symmetrical building with an iwan, an arch-shaped doorway, topped by a large dome. Like most Mughal tombs, basic elements are Persian in origin.
The base of the Taj is a large, multi-chambered structureThe base structure is a large, multi-chambered structure. The base is essentially a cube with chamfered edges and is roughly 55 meters on each side (see floor plan, right). On the long sides, a massive pishtaq, or vaulted archway, frames the iwan with a similar arch-shaped balcony.
On either side of the main arch, additional pishtaqs are stacked above and below. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on chamfered corner areas as well. The design is completely symmetrical on all sides of the building. Four minarets, one at each corner of the plinth, facing the chamfered corners, frame the tomb. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; their actual graves are at a lower level.
The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is its most spectacular feature. Its height is about the same size as the base of the building, about 35 meters, and is accentuated as it sits on a cylindrical "drum" of about 7 metres high. Because of its shape, the dome is often called an onion dome (also called an amrud or guava dome). The top is decorated with a lotus design, which serves to accentuate its height as well. The shape of the dome is emphasised by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners. The chattri domes replicate the onion shape of the main dome. Their columned bases open through the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements.
The main dome is crowned by a gilded spire or finial. The finial, made of gold until the early 1800s, is now made of bronze.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest to be found in Mughal architecture. As the surface area changes, a large pishtaq has more area than a smaller one, and the decorations are refined proportionally. The decorative elements were created by applying paint or stucco, or by stone inlays or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs.
The calligraphy found in Taj Mahal are of florid thuluth script, created by Persian calligrapher Amanat Khan, who signed several of the panels. The calligraphy is made by jasper inlaid in white marble panels, and the work found on the marble cenotaphs in the tomb is extremely detailed and delicate. Higher panels are written slightly larger to reduce the skewing effect when viewing from below. Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur'an are used as decorative elements.

Tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
View of the tombs in the Crypt
From Armchair Travel
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia
Transfer made by User:quickiebites.
Date 2007-02-07 (original upload date)
Author: Original uploader was Donelson at en.wikipedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)
Gateway to the Taj Mahal
04:21, 15 May 2006

Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)
Picture taken by Kaiser Tufail
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bird's Eye View of the Taj Mahal at Agra
Artist's impression
Source English Wikipedia
Date 1790-1810
Author: Unidentified
Indian, Pen and opaque watercolor
paper H: 52.8 W: 34.4 cm
From the Smithsonian Institution Collection

Taj Mahal world heritage site in Agra, India
View from the river Yamuna
Image produced by David Castor (user:dcastor)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Date between 1860 - 1869
Author: Samuel Bourne
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soon after the Taj Mahal's completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Upon Shah Jahan's death, Aurangzeb buried him in the Taj Mahal next to his wife.
By the late 19th century, parts of the Taj Mahal had fallen badly into disrepair. During the time of the Indian rebellion of 1857, the Taj Mahal was defaced by British soldiers and government officials, who chiseled out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls. At the end of 19th century British viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a massive restoration project, which was completed in 1908. He also commissioned the large lamp in the interior chamber, modeled after one in a Cairo mosque. During this time the garden was remodeled with British-looking lawns that are visible today.
In 1942, the government erected a scaffolding in anticipation of an air attack by German Luftwaffe and later by Japanese Air Force. During the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, scaffoldings were again erected to mislead bomber pilots.[26] Its recent threats have come from environmental pollution on the banks of Yamuna River including acid rain due to the Mathura oil refinery, which was opposed by Supreme Court of India directives. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The tomb framed by the gateway entrance
Picture taken by Kaiser Tufail
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The mosque
Oxford University Press, Karachi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ICOMOS advisory body evaluation
ICOMOS May 1983

"Book Review: The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal" (in English) Leoshko, Janice (2002)
Persimmon - Asian literature, Arts and Culture
Retrieved on 2007-02-13
© 2002 Contemporary Asian Culture, Inc.
© Aramco World/Nik Wheeler

Several designers and architects – thirty seven men in all – are mentioned by name in the official Mughal histories, and it is probable that they would have worked together to form the creative team that shaped the Taj Mahal:
Ismail Afandi (a.k.a. Ismail Khan) who had worked for the great Ottomans in Turkey as a designer and builder of domes;
Qazim Khan, a goldsmith from Lahore who cast the gold finial that crowns the dome;
Chiranji Lal, a lapidary from Delhi chosen as the chief mosaicist;
Amanat Khan from Shiraz, the master calligrapher whose signature is inscribed on the Taj gateway;
Mohammed Hanif, Multan and Quandhar, master masons from Delhi; and
Mukrimat Khan and Mir Abdul Karim from Shiraz, chief supervisors and administrators.
Ustad Ahmad (a.k.a. Isa Khan), an architect in the court of Shah Jahan from Lahore, is most often credited as the chief architect (or plan drawer) of the Taj Mahal, based on a seventeenth century manuscript which claims that Ustad Ahmad was the architect of both the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort at Delhi.
(From Treasures Homepage)

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq
(Copyright 1990, 1997, All Rights Reserved)
Text Source: Taj Mahal, Mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal
From IslamiCity
Taj Mahal pictures
©2000-2007 Narayan Sengupta and friends
An Historical Account of the Taj Mahal
Copyright © 1998-2001 Live India Internet Services
Stock photos of the Taj Mahal
Copyright © 2003-2008 Shutterstock Images LLC

The Urinals of Taj Mahal
CH sent in this picture, noting:
"Even the world famous Taj Mahal in India
now uses Waterless Urinals
- a first class environmental statement!"
Copyright 2008 - URINAL.NET

The Taj Mahal

by Professor Marvin H. Mills
Pratt Institute, New York

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