TAJ MAHAL

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TAJ MAHAL:

TAJ MAHAL

Introduction :

Introduction The Taj M ahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world heritage .” I t was built by Mughal Emperor Shah J ahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz M ahal . T he construction began around 1632 a nd was completed around 1653 , employing thousands of artisans and craftsman. In 1983, the T aj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Origin and Inspiration :

Origin and Inspiration In 1631, Shah Jahan was grief –stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of their 14 th child Gauhara Begum . Specific inspiration came from successful timurid and mughal buildings. While earlier mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone , Shah jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Architecture – The Tomb:

Architecture – The Tomb The tomb is the center focus of the entire complex of the Taj mahal . The tomb stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. The base structure is essentially a large, multi chamber cube with chamfered corner forming an unequal octagon approximately 55mtrs (180ft) on each of the four long sides. On each of these sides, a huge pishtaq, or vaulted arch way , frames the iwan with two similarly shaped, arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas. Four minarets frame the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners.

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The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is the most spectacular feature. Its height of around 35mtrs (115ft) i s about the same as the length of the base, an is accentuated as it sits on a cylindrical “drum ” which is roughly 7mtrs (23fts ) high. The dome is often called an onion dome or amrud (guava dome). The top is decorated with a lotus design, which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasized by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners, which replicate the onion shape of the main dome. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional P ersian and Hindustani elements .

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The main finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of glided bronze in the early 19 th century . The finial is topped by a moon, a typical I slamic motif whose horns point heavenward. The horns of the moon and the finial point combine to create a trident shape . The minarets, which are each more than 40mtrs (130 ft) tall, display the designer's penchant for symmetry. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a finial balcony surmounted by a chattris that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that, in the event of collapse, the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.

1)Base, dome and minaret> 2) Finial………………> 3) Main Iwan and Pishtaqs …………........>:

1)Base, dome and minaret> 2 ) Finial………………> 3) M ain Iwan and Pishtaqs …………........>

Exterior Decoration and Calligraphy:

Exterior Decoration and Calligraphy The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs . Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur'an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan. The calligraphy was created by a calligrapher named Abd ul-Haq, in 1609 . Shah Jahan conferred the title of "Amanat Khan" upon him as a reward for his "dazzling virtuosity“.

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Much of the calligraphy is composed of florid thuluth script , made of jasper or black marble inlaid in white marble panels. Higher panels are written in slightly larger script to reduce the skewing effect when viewed from below. The calligraphy found on the marble cenotaphs in the tomb is particularly Abstract forms are used throughout, especially in the plinth, minarets, gateway, mosque, jawab and, to a lesser extent, the Herringbone inlays define the space between many of the adjoining elements. White inlays are used in sandstone buildings , and dark or black inlays on the white marbles. Mortared areas of the marble buildings have been stained or painted in a contrasting colour, creating geometric patterns of considerable complexity. Floors and walkways use contrasting tiles or blocks in tessellation patterns.

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Plant motifs Herringbone <…….Calligraphy of Persian poems Calligraphy on large Pishtaq……>

Interior Decoration and Gemstones:

Interior Decoration and Gemstones The interior chamber of the Taj Mahal steps far beyond traditional decorative elements the inlay work is a lapidary of precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used. The interior walls are about 25mtrs(82 ft) high and are topped by a " false" interior dome decorated with a sun motif. The four central upper arches form balconies or viewing areas, and each balcony's exterior window has an intricate screen or jali cut from marble.

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Each chamber wall has been highly decorated with dado bas-relief, intricate lapidary inlay and refined calligraphy panels, reflecting in miniature detail the design elements seen throughout the exterior of the complex. The octagonal marble screen or jali which borders the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels which have been carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces have been inlaid in extremely delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers . The bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan were put in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right and towards Mecca . Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph is placed at the precise center of the inner chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5mtrs(4 ft 11 in) by 2.5mtre(8 ft 2 in).

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1) Jali screen surrounding the cenotaphs 3) Tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal 2) Cenotaphs, interior of Taj Mahal

THE GARDEN:

THE GARDEN The complex is set around a large 300-metre (980 ft) square charbagh or Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar, in reference to the "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor, Babur. It symbolises the four flowing rivers of Jannah (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise garden derived from the Persian paridaeza , meaning 'walled garden '.

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