Taj Mahal needs no introduction. An unparalleled mausoleum carved in milk white marble, this monument of love built by order of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, is a rare gem of Muslim art in India. It is a true masterpiece that attracts innumerable tourists from across the globe to Agra, situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India.
Wherever you look at it from, this monumental beauty is a symbol of architectural genius. The complex is set around a large Mughal Garden, a favourite picture spot for tourists. The garden makes use of raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into sunken flowerbeds.
The central focus of the Taj Mahal is its tomb. It is a large, white marble structure standing on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an arch-shaped doorway topped by a large dome and a finial. Like most Mughal tombs, the basic elements are Persian in origin.
According to art historian Milo Beach, “The Koranic inscriptions around the archways and the gateways of the Taj are stone inlayed into stone. Simply as an artistic device it’s breathtaking, because it has all the naturalness of a pen stroke, but it was designed by a calligrapher and then, essentially, copied in stone.”
“Calligraphy was an enormously important art form, because the calligrapher was writing the word of God, the holy word itself. So, he was a direct conduit for the revelation of divinity on earth and was given an enormous amount of importance. In the hierarchy of the arts, calligraphy would have been considered the most important of all.”
Taj Mahal counts itself among the seven wonders of the world and is easily the most romantic place on earth alongside the Eiffel Tower of Paris. World leaders, celebrities, vacationers and local people flock to this mecca of love throughout the year irrespective of seasons and temperatures.
Despite the many environmental threats to this iconic structure including pollution, erosion, waste from the Yamuna etc. millions continue to throng here to revel in the transcending journey of love to feel what its creator Shah Jahan had felt upon dedicating this masterpiece to his favorite queen. Love is truly eternal, and its strongest symbol – Taj Mahal – will continue to remind us of its unfading and selfless power that will outlive many generations to come.