Images of the Taj Mahal are familiar to us all, one of the most photographed iconic monuments in the world. However, does it live up to expectations? As far as we are concerned it far surpasses and exceeds them. It is the greatest Indo-Islamic architectural masterpiece - a precious jewel
Darwaza-i rauza - The Great Gate
We did not anticipate that the Taj Mahal complex would be so large, being bound on three sides by crenellated red arched sandstone walls. Entry is through this elaborate Great Gate.
Immediately flanking the western side of the Taj Mahal is this red sandstone Mosque with its mirror image replicated on the eastern side. The replicated building was used as a Guest House.
It was obligatory, according to Muslim law, for each mausoleum to have a place of worship nearby
The fourth side, behind the Taj Mahal, is open to the River Yamuna
In 1631 Emperor Shah Jahan was heartbroken when his much favoured third wife , Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess, died giving birth to their 14th child
Emperor Shah Jahan
The Taj Mahal is Emperor Shah Jahan's sublime expression of grief
He was reported to be inconsolable and went into secluded mourning for a year. When he appeared again, his hair had turned white, his back was bent, and his face worn
Looking back at the main entry gate from the mausoleum
The marble is covered in exquisite Calligraphy showing verses from the Qur'an, Persian poems, floral designs, plant motifs, and inlaid Pietra Dura work
This detail was clipped from the photo above
The white marble used in the Taj Mahal was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, reputed to be the finest marble in the world. The marble is very dense and non porous making it resistant to water and weather. It consists of a very high amount of calcium carbonate and is an excellent building material
birds roost, the sun sets,