Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Reflected Glory of the Taj Mahal

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Reflected Glory of the Taj Mahal

Article excerpt

Reflected glory of the Taj Mahal In the 17th century, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan created an architectural marvel, the Taj Mahal, in memory of his much-loved wife, Mumtaz Mahal ("Chosen One of the Palace"), who died in childbirth in 1631 after having been the emperor's inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612.

Credit for the original conception of the mausoleum should no doubt go to Shah Jahan himself, but Mughal tradition has it that several architects collaborated in drawing up the final plans. The chief architect was most probably Ustad Ahmad Lahori, a mathematician and astrologer renowned for his skill in designing buildings of vast dimensions and perfect symmetry.

The construction of the monument was begun in 1632 and took over twenty years. A team of several thousands of master-builders and craftsmen, masons, marble-workers, inlayers, goldsmiths, calligraphers and other decorators, came from all over India and Central Asia to work on this large-scale building project. The chosen site was outside Agra, on the southern bank of the Yamuna River, whose course was diverted in order that the water would reflect and enhance the beauty of the monument. …

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