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Taj Mahal: The Hidden Truth

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2010

Taj Mahal: The Hidden Truth

Location

India, Uttar Pradesh, Agra – Coordinates: 27° 10′ 0 N 78° 2′ 60 E

Image Source: Google Earth – Copyright Digital Globe

Introduction

The Taj Mahal (also “the Taj”) is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”


In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site

While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The Persian architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.


The mausoleum of the Taj Mahal.
Image Source

Construction

The Taj Mahal was built on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. Shah Jahan presented Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land. An area of roughly three acres was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage and leveled at 50 meters above riverbank. In the tomb area, wells were dug and filled with stone and rubble as the footings of the tomb. Instead of lashed bamboo, workmen constructed a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the tomb. The scaffold was so enormous that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle. According to the legend, Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight. A fifteen kilometer tamped-earth ramp was built to transport marble and materials to the construction site. Teams of twenty or thirty oxen were strained to pull blocks on specially constructed wagons. An elaborate post-and-beam pulley system was used to raise the blocks into desired position. Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism, into a large storage tank and raised to large distribution tank. It was passed into three subsidiary tanks, from which it was piped to the complex.

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