Monday, August 1, 2011

Unique Vacation Spots - The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is located on a small pocket of land beside the River Yamuna to the south of the walled city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India.
Shah Jahan wanted this patch of land so much that he offered the Maharajah Jai Singh a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land!
The completed Taj Mahal complex is bounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls, with the river-facing side left open with the Moonlight Garden. Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan’s other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz’s favorite servant.
When Was The Taj Mahal Built?Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, one year after the death of his beloved wife. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished in the following 5 years. A labour force of an estimated twenty thousand workers from across northern India were employed in it’s construction. And the materials to be used came from all over India and Asia. And over 1,000 elephants were apparently employed to move the materials.
Components were from afar and included the marble from Rajastan, the jasper from Punjab, and both jade and crystal from China. The turquoise came from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from across the hills in Afghanistan. Sapphire was imported from Sri Lanka and the carnelian was Arabian in origin. In total - 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were beautifully inlaid into the white marble structure.
Who Was The Architect Of The Taj Mahal?
There is no definitive answer to this but Ustad Isa and Isa Muhammad Effendi of Persia who was coached by Koca Mimar Sinan Agha of the Ottoman Empire is frequently credited with a key role in the architectural design.

Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is also considered the most likely candidate as the principal designer of the complex and Ismail Afandi is credited as the main designer of the large dome.
And Finally:
Neighboring Bangladesh has made a life size replica of the Taj Mahal 18 miles northeast of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. However, this version only took 5 years to build but was by no means cheaper! It still cost around $58 million for the wealthy Bangladeshi film-maker who wanted it built. He was reportedly building it so that ‘the poor of his nation can realise their dream of seeing neighbouring India’s famed monument’.