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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Taj Mahal

Declared a world heritage site in 1983, Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world and the hottest tourist attraction in India. Situated in Agra, once the capital of Mughals, it is the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. An icon of Indian tourism, Taj is the befitting tomb to Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) after she died in 1630. It took twenty years, millions of rupees and hard labor of more than 20,000 craftsmen to finish this specimen of architectural wonder. Its construction was started in 1632 on the banks of River Yamuna and the best masters and architects were called from all over the world including from Italy, Persia and Turkey to contribute to its beauty.The white marble bulbous dome, beautifully laid Mughal gardens, ingenious waterways and pathways, the mosque and the rest house, all contribute heavily to give it the harmonious look. Even the main gateway has its wonders that are worth mentioning. Unlike the extremely hot marble exteriors, the interiors are quite cool and dark. It is ostentatiously ornamented with fine marble carvings inlaid with precious and semiprecious stones such as sapphire, topaz, coral and many more. The cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are surrounded by carved marble screen beautified by calligraphy and inlay work. The changing color of the Taj at different time of the day and season is quite mesmerizing and make it look truly paradisiacal.

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