Taj Mahal, India – Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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The Taj Mahal is a statement in marble, an awesome architectural statement that declares the opulence and extravagance of 17th-century Mughal architecture. It’s listed by UNESCO and, in 2007, was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This enormous mausoleum which is a mixture of graceful minarets and jewel encrusted arches, topped by a double dome. It gleams on the right bank of the Yamuna River, in the heart of Uttar Pradesh’s Agra District. It towers over 17 acres of attractive gardens and serene waters, which reflect its highly polished structure. Artisans, masons, stone-cutters and calligraphers completed the tomb and its grounds in 1653. It is a testament to true love, built for the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. As such, the resplendent structure is the final resting place of the couple and their ornamental cenotaphs.
Just 500m from the Taj’s east gate is the Taj Nature Walk. This 9km trail traverses an undulating area of reserve forest where you can find 46 species of flower and a variety of tree species. There’s also a chance to spot over 30 types of bird, from the red vented bulbul to the black-winged kite. But the most striking aspect of the trail is its many viewing points, from which you can see the Taj Mahal in the distance
The Taj Mahal is believed to have been designed as an earthly replica of one of the houses of paradise. Its perfect proportions and craftsmanship have been variously described as a prayer, a vision, a dream, a poem, a wonder. It’s estimated to have cost around 30-40million rupees at the time it was built with around 20, 000 workers labouring for almost 22 years to complete it. So below I listed all the parts of the site that you should make sure that you see.
The four minarets, each of the four minarets is 40m high and crowned by a chhatri which is a dome shaped pavilion; they highlight the symmetry of the complex
The Marble screen, this filigree screen was delicately carved from a single block of marble and was meant to veil the area around the royal tombs.
The Tomb chamber; Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph is raised on a platform and is placed next to Shah Jahan’s. The actual graves, in a dark crypt below, are closed to the public.
The Calligraphic panels, they contain Koranic verses and the script increases in size as the arches get higher, creating the subtle optical illusion of a uniformly flowing script.
The Lotus Pool is named after its lotus shaped fountain spouts, the pool reflects the tomb. Almost every visitor wants to be photographed sitting on the marble bench here.
Pishtaq are recessed arches provide depth while their inlaid panels reflect the changing light to give the tomb a mystical aura.
Pietra dura was inspired by the paradise garden, intricately carved floral designs inlaid with precious stones embellish the white marble surface to give it the look of a bejewelled casket.
Charbagh is the Persian style garden that is irrigated by the waters of the Yamuna River
Finally the Dome, This 44m double dome is capped with a finial and is the high light view.
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