Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal (täzh məhälˈ, täj məhŭlˈ), mausoleum, Agra, Uttar Pradesh state, N India, on the Yamuna River. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and the finest example of the late style of Indian Islamic architecture. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ordered it built after the death (1631) of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The building, which was completed between 1632 and 1638, was designed by the local Muslim architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori; set in its carefully laid out grounds, it is a reflection of the gardens of Paradise to which the faithful ascend. The entire complex, with gardens, gateway structures, and mosque, was completed in 1648. In the late 20th and early 21st cent. the mausoleum has suffered from the effects of pollution and other insults.

The Taj Mahal mausoleum stands at one end of the garden adorned with fountains and marble pavements. The garden contains four water channels to echo the four rivers of the Islamic Paradise. It rises from a platform 313 ft (95 m) on a side, bearing a white marble minaret at each corner; the enclosure, 186 ft (57 m) on a side, has truncated corners and a high portal on each side. The white marble exterior is inlaid with semiprecious stones arranged in Arabic inscriptions (designed by a local artist Amanat Khan, who was Shah Jahan's calligrapher), floral designs, and arabesques, and the salient features of the interior are accented with agate, jasper, and colored marbles. The roofing dome, on the inside, is 80 ft (24.4m) high and 50 ft (15.2 m) in diameter; outside it forms a bulb, which tapers to a spire topped by a crescent. The tomb chamber, with its two sarcophagi, is an octagonal room in the center of the edifice (the royal couple, however, are buried in an underground vault). The chamber is softly illuminated by the light that passes through double screens of intricately carved marble set high in the walls.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Taj Mahal

 

an outstanding monument of Indian architecture from the Great Mogul period; situated on the Jumna River, near Agra. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan from about 1630 to 1652 as a mausoleum for his wife (the Shah himself is also buried there). One of the architects of the Taj Mahal was probably Ustad Isa. The five-domed building is approximately 74 m high at its pinnacle, with a minaret at each of the four corners. The walls are covered with polished white marble, decorated with inlaid semiprecious stones. A garden adjoins the Taj Mahal.

REFERENCE

Chaghtai, M. A. Le Tadj Mahal d’Agra. Brussels, 1938.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Taj Mahal

fabulous tomb built by Shah Jahan for wife. [Ind. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 317]

Taj Mahal

fabulous tomb of Shah Jahan’s wife. [Indian Hist.: Wallechinsky, 317]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Taj Mahal

a white marble mausoleum in central India, in Agra on the Jumna River: built (1632--43) by the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal; regarded as the finest example of Mogul architecture
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Empress of India Arjumand Bano Begum was Persian by blood and the daughter of the Prime Minister of Jahangir's court.