Taj Mahal Tour

                                Taj Mahal Tour

 Taj Mahal Tour

“It is said as Shah Jahan knelt by his beloved queen, she whispered to him to build her a monument that would perfectly symbolize the purity and beauty of their love. A short while later she died. And Shah

  Taj Mahal Tour
Taj Mahal Tour

Jahan, the great Emperor of the World, the grandest of the Mughals, broke down and wept inconsolably” and then the Taj Mahal was built… and rest is History 

The Taj Mahal has inspired painters, writers, critics and poets: in more recent years it has been filmed, televised and profusely photographed. But nothing can equal the unforgettable experience of seeing such beauty and perfection for oneself.  

 A hundred years ago, Edward Lear expressed a similar thought somewhat different: “Henceforth”, he said, “let the inhabitants of the world be divided into two classes- them as has seen the Taj Mahal; and them as hasn’t.” 

 Today, once again, the Taj Mahal is cherished and preserved, as indeed the Emperor of the World had meant it to be. 

 In The Last 300 Years There Have Been Many So Moved by the Taj Mahal that they have recorded their impression at length’ Some have described what they found most beautiful about the mausoleum; others, while doing so, have also revealed the various activities that

  Taj Mahal Tour
Taj Mahal Tour

book palace there. 

 To Shah Jahan it was a sacred ground, a precious memorial of a loved one. And after his death, at least till the end of Aurangzb’s reign, it continued to be held sacred. But as later travelogues reveal, it was not always to be so. 

The French traveler Francois Bernier visited the Taj Mahal during Aurangzeb’s reign in 1670. He wrote of it in a letter to his patron, jean Baptiste Colbert, the dreaded finance minister of Luis X1V: 

The building I am speaking of is of a different and peculiar kind: but not without something pleasing in it’s whimsical structure; and in my opinion it well deserves palaces in your book of architecture. It consists almost wholly of arches upon arches, and galleries disposed and contrived in an hundred different ways. Nevertheless the edifice has a magnificent appearance, and is conceived and executed effectually. Nothing offends the eyes; on the contrary it is delighted with every part, and never tired with looking. The Last time I visited Tag Mehale’s (Taj Mahal) mausoleum I was in the company of a French merchant (Tavernier) who, as well as I, thought that this extraordinary fabric could not be sufficiently admired. I did not venture to express my opinion, fearing that my taste might have become corrupted by my long residence in the Indies; ans asmy companion was come recently from France, it was quite a relief to my mind to here him say that he had seen nothing in Europe so bold and majestic. 

There is Koran is continually read with apparent devotion in respectful memory of Taj Mahal by certain Mullahs kept in the mausoleum for that purpose ……Everywhere are seen the japer, and jachen, or jade, as well as other stones similar to those that enrich the walls of the Grand Duke’s chapel at Florence, and several more of great value and rarity, set in an endless variety of modes, mixed and enchased in the salable of marbles which compose the pavement are inland with these precious stones in the most beautiful and delicate manner imaginable. 

    Under the dome is a small chamber, where in is enclosed the tomb of Taj Mahal. It is opened with much ceremony once a year. And once only; and as no Christian is admitted within, lest it’s sanctity should be profanes, I have not seen the interior, but I understand that nothing can be conceived more rich and magnificent. 

 It only remains to draw your attention to a walk or terrace, nearly five and twenty paces in breadth and rather more in height, which runs from the dome to the extremity of the gardens. From this terrace are seen the Gamma flowing below, a large expanse of luxuriant gardens, a part the city of Agra, the fortress, and all the fine residence of the omrahs erected on the bank of the river. When I add that this terrace extends almost the whole length of on side of the garden, I leave you to judge whether I had not sufficient ground for asserting that the mausoleum of Taj mahal is an astonishing work. It is possible I may have imbibed an Indian taste; but I decidedly think that this monument deserves much more to numbered among the wonders of the word than the pyramids of Egypt, those unshaped masses which when I had seen them twice yielded me no satisfaction……. (Franco is Bernier Travels in the Mogul Empire, 1670.) 

  Six years later Jean Baptist Tavernier again visited the mausoleum which he had seen frequently during it’s construction with his friend Bernier. Yes, Aurangzeb was taking special care, for Tavernier writes: 

 …….the Begum is interred under a vault which is beneath the first platform The same changes which are made below in this subterranean place are made above around the tomb, for from time to time they change the carpet chandeliers, and other ornaments of that kind, and there are always there some Mollahs to pray.

 A hundred year later the scene the Taj Mahal had changed. So had the Mughal Empire, under the hands of successive weaklings. Not that the mausoleum had lost its beauty, for it was to be a source of much inspiration to British painters. But the Mullahs it seems, had stooped praying there. v In 1783, the British painter Hodges visited the Taj Mahal and did the first known painting of this mausoleum. He found the garden in ‘’tolerable repair’’ but comb itself, he says, ‘’appears like a most perfect pearl on an azure ground. The effect is much, I confess, I never experienced from any work of art.’’

 Visitor, both Indian and foreign, continued to frequent the Taj Mahal. Thomas Dainell, another British painter, rectifies to this in 1789: 

 The Taje Mahal (Taj Mahal) has always been considered as the first example of Mohammedan architecture in India, and consequently, being a spectacle of the highest celebrity, is visited by person of all ranks and from all parts. The high admiration is however, not confined

  Taj Mahal Tour
Taj Mahal Tour

to the partial eye of the native Indian; it is beheld with no less wonder and delight by those who have seen the productions of art in various part of the globe. 

 But by the turn of the century the attitude to Indian ar t and architecture had changed. Bentinck, the first Governor General of India (1828_33), had planned to demolish several monuments in Delhi and Agra, and remove their facades to be shipped and sold togentry in England. Some pavilions at the Agra fort fell victim to this bizarre plan. Even the Taj Mahal was to be dismantled, but word of the failure to sell the marble in London, arrived in time. However, even the west, the Taj Mahal, on never quite lost its admires and in London, especially, symmetrical walkways, fountains, domes and white marble became popular. 

 By the nineteenth century all sanctity and quite had been removed from the Taj Mahal. The beautiful memorial had been turned into a pleasure resort; in its gardens. Englishmen met their lovers, on its terrace, they danced, while the mosque and the jawab were returned out to honeymooners. 

 In 1844 came the well known Col. Sleeman. He leaves a simple and lively account: 

 For five and twenty years of my life had I been looking forward the sight now before me. Of no building on earth had I heard so much as of this which contains the remains of the Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife…. and from the first sight of the dome and minarets on the distant horizon, to the last glance back from my tent ropes to the magnificent gateway that forms the entrance from our camp to the quadrangle in which they stand, I can truly say that everything surpassed my expectations. I at first thought the dome formed too large a portion of the whole building; that its neck was too long and too much exposed; and that the minarets were too plain in thei design; but after going repeatedly over every part, and examining the tout ensemble from all possible positions, and in all possible lights, from that of the full moon midnight in a cloudless sky, to that of the noon day sun, the mind seemed to repose in the calm persuasion, that there was an entire harmony of parts, a faultless congregation of architectural beauties on which it could well for ever without fatigue. 

I went on from part to part in the expectation that I must by and by come to something that would disappoint me; but no, the emotion which one feels at first is never impaired: on the contrary, it goes on improving from the first coup d’oeil of the dome in the distance, to the minute inspection of the last flower upon the screen round the tomb. One returns and returns to it with undiminished pleasure; an thought at every return one’s attention to the smaller parts becomes less and less, the pleasure which he derives from the contemplation of the greater, that he could not have it all his wife within his reach; and of the assurance that the image of what he has seen can never be obliterated from his mind…. 

 By Sleeman’s time the vault was open to all, and suffered for it. Of the gardens he writes that ‘’ the fountains are made to play almost every evening when the gardens are frequented by the European gentlemen and ladies of the station, and by natives of all religious sects”. 

 We were encamped upon affine green sward outside the entrance to the south, in a kind of large court, enclosed by a high cloistered wall in

  Taj Mahal Tour
Taj Mahal Tour

  Taj Mahal Tour

which all our attendants and followers found shelter. Colonel and Mrs. King, and some other gentlemen, were encamped in the same place, and for the same purpose; and we had a very agreeable party. The band of our friend Major Godby’s regiment played sometimes in the evening upon the terrace of the Taj; But of all the complicated music ever heard upon earth, that of flute blown gently in the vault below, where the remains of the emperor and his consort repose, as the round rises to the dome amidst….. arched alcoves around, and descends in heavenly reverberations upon those who sit or recline upon the cenotaphs above the vault, is perhaps the finest to an inartificial ear. We feel as if it were from heaven… (W.H. Sleeman’s, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, 1844.)

 Important Information about the Taj Mahal

Year of Construction

1631

Completed In

1653

Time Taken

22 years

Built By

Shah Jahan

Dedicated to

Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan

Location

Agra, Uttar Pradesh (India)

Building Type

Islamic tomb

Architecture

Islamic

Cost of Construction

31 crore rupees

Number of workers

20,000

Highlights

One of the Seven Wonders of the World

Timings

06:00 AM to 07:30 PM (Friday closed)

Fee

RS. 970 (Foreigners)
RS. 20 (Indians, during daytime)
RS. 110 (Indians, during sunrise and sunset)

 Please Note: In the above details few times Taj Mahal has spelled differently. This is the original way how these people spelled Taj Mahal.

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