The cenotaphs honoring Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are housed inside the Taj Mahal in an eight-sided chamber decorated with pietra dura (semi-precious stone inlay) and a marble lattice screen. The beautiful monuments, however, are only for show: The actual sarcophagi are located in a quiet chamber below, at garden level. A narrow stairway leads down from the viewing gallery into a peaceful oasis complete with waterfalls and fountains.
The Taj Mahal was not built as a tomb but as a mausoleum. It was designed by the Persian architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori who was hired by Shah Jahan to design a monument that would equal the beauty of his favorite city, Persepolis in Iran. The construction began in 1632 and was not completed until nearly three decades later. Despite its name, the Taj Mahal is a memorial, not a mosque.
Inside the tomb, on top of the black marble coffin, lies the body of Mumtaz Mahal. She died during childbirth in 1631 at the age of thirty-five. Next to her corpse lies that of their son, Jahangir. He also died before his father and was only nine years old. Below these two bodies is that of Akbar, the third son who survived him by only a few months. He died in 1666 at the age of twenty-one.
The construction of the Taj Mahal was not finished because of financial problems.
The cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are located in the center. Shah Jahan's cenotaph is to the left and higher than his beloved's, which is directly under the dome. Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph is located in the center of the marble screen. It contains passages from the Koran engraved in Persian on it. There is also a statue of an angel standing over them with its wings spread out.
The Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum for the wife of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627). It is the most beautiful monument built by humans only for love. The construction started in 1632 and finished in 1654. It is made of white marble with black stone for the patterns on the walls and the windows. Inside there are three chambers with mirrors that reflect the beauty of the rooms.
Mumtaz Mahal's body was brought from India to Europe where it still rests in the British Museum in London. Her tomb is more impressive than the one of her husband because it was designed by the best artists of its time. They used many different techniques to create realistic images even down to the smallest details like the veins on the leaves of the trees. In fact the wood used to build the tomb came from the same region as the ones used to make the ships at the Royal Navy Yard!
Taj Mahal is better preserved than expected considering it has no money coming in from visitors.
The Taj Mahal complex is surrounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls; the fourth side is exposed to the river. There are also other mausoleums beyond the fortifications, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives and a grander tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant. These additional structures are not included in calculations of the number of walls.
When building the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan employed an estimated 20,000 workers over four years. The construction site was huge - it could have held 80 Olympic swimming pools - and it was done entirely with hand tools. In order to provide food for all these workers, the government established food markets near the construction site. The markets served as distribution centers where grains were stored before being sent out to local farmers. Many believe that this is why the Taj Mahal is built of marble: much of it came from within the kingdom of India at the time.
The walls of the Taj Mahal are about six feet tall and eight feet thick. They were built using black stone extracted from across the city. The hardest part of the job was accomplished first: the main entrance has a door made from a single block of hard stone. Next, the builders constructed support beams inside the wall to hold up the floor above. After that, they created a flat roof on which tiles were laid to form a water-resistant surface.
The Taj Mahal, located in Agra, is a white marble mausoleum erected by Shah Jahan between 1632 and 1648 in remembrance of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was built by 20,000 workers and portrays the Islamic garden of heaven. It is often recognized as the pinnacle of Mughal architecture. The building takes the form of a perfect square with four identical facades surrounded by gardens. It is the largest monument in India.
The construction of the Taj Mahal started on March 3, 1632 and it was completed on April 21, 1653. It was originally called "Alamgir's Tomb" after its founder, but later renamed after Mumtaz Mahal. She died while giving birth to their second child. This made Shah Jahan feel so sad that he decided to build her a tomb that would keep her memory alive forever.
The interior of the Taj Mahal is also decorated with beautiful calligraphy and paintings. It contains several chambers that reach a maximum height of 28 meters (92 feet). There are seven doors on the facade of the main building which lead to the rooms inside the tomb. A huge crowd came to see the unveiling of the Taj Mahal on January 1, 1672. This is when Shah Jahan announced that his wife's body was still inside the tomb and requested people to pray for her soul.
After the death of Shah Jahan in 1666, the situation in India became chaotic.