Amazing. Wow. Incredible. Forever. Love. Really. Power. Perfect. Symmetry. Myths. Stories. Craftsman. Marble. Stones. Beautiful. Crowded. Hot. Engineering. Artist. Eccentric. Awe. Just a few of the words that went through my mind as we walked through the Taj Mahal.
I have to be honest, I knew of the Taj Mahal but did not realize the story behind the building. A love story from the mid 1600’s…the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for the love of this life, his 3rd wife, after she died giving birth to their 14th child. A perfectly symmetrical design, artistically awe-inspiring tomb that houses Mumtaz Mahal, and then 35 years later Shah Jahan was laid to rest beside his wife.
Here are a few of the many photo’s that we took. Of course photo’s will never capture the true beauty and detail that was handcrafted nearly 400 years ago.
The Gateway. There are 11 bulbs that run along the top of the entry with a duplicate set on the backside, representing the 22 years it took to build.
Dome inside the Gateway, made of red sandstone.
First view of The Taj from the Gateway
The Taj Mahal. Intentionally built so that the sky will be its only backdrop.
Details from the outside of the building
Floral patterns hand-carved into marble
Precious stones (turquoise, jade, carnelian,…) are precisely carved and inlaid into hand-etched marble stone. The depth of color is amazing.
Stories from the Quran are inscribed in calligraphy in black marble along the archways. The Great Gateway reads: “O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you.”
View of the duplicate non-active “mosque” from inside the Mausoleum. A portion of the marble has been hand-carved in geometric patterns, providing filtered light to the inside. The duplicate mosque was built for symmetry only, since it’s not facing Mecca, it cannot function as an active mosque.
A clear view of the Mosque, which is facing Mecca and is still actively used today.
Proof we were here
And yes, I was talked into doing the cheesy picture by our guide, with the funny pose because I’m a big dork
As the stories of the Taj are shared from generation to generation, it’s said that Shah Jahan had intentions of building a duplicate Taj Mahal but in Black marble on the opposite side of the river for himself. Because of a family falling out with one of his sons, this was never done. And so Shah Jahan was laid to rest beside his wife at the Taj Mahal and is the only element that is not symmetrical on all of the property.