Taj Mahal - The Teardrop on the cheeks of Eternity

10 Mar 2021 by Sandhya Singh

Taj Mahal - ‘A Teardrop on the cheek of Eternity’

What is the Taj Mahal

Tajmahal is a surreal monument which is constructed on the right bank of river Yamuna using the white marble known as Makrana marble that was bought from Rajasthan. It's been more than 400 years since this fascinating piece of architecture was constructed but still, the poetries and architecture of this monument is the most fascinating work of art known to mankind. Taj Mahal is also described as a symbol of love and it is said that the Taj Mahal echoes the beauty, Romance, and Glory of this monument which is one of the seven wonders of the world. This rural beauty of this monument gets enhanced on full moonlight when the semi-translucent white marble reflects the moonlight and glows in dark. Taj Mahal is the symbol of unconditional love and emotion and it was constructed in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal who was the beloved wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. This beautiful monument has now become a symbol of the integrity and sovereignty of India across the globe and is visited by around 4000 national and international tourists each day.

What is the story behind the Taj Mahal

Anjuman Banu (Mumtaz Mahal) who was the daughter of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan, was born on the 6th of April in year 1593, she was the niece of Empress Nur Jahan. Prince Khurram who is also known as Shah Jahan saw her in Marketplace where she was having her own stall and he fell in love with her at first sight. In 1612 both got married when Mumtaz Mahal was just 14 years old. Shah Jahan used to take Mumtaz Mahal along with her on all his travel trips and he also gave her his Imperial seat which is known as the Muhr Uzah.

With the passage of time, both of them became the parents of 14 children including Dara Shikoh, Roshnara Begum, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb, and  Jahanara Begum. Finally, on June 17, 1631, a day of grief and sadness came in their life as on this date Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to her 14th child. Her body was buried in a garden located in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh on the bank of the river Tapi. After her death, Shah Jahan became really weak and grieved for her for more than a year. Later Shahjahan decided to take her body back to Agra in a golden coffin along with his son Shah Shuja. After bringing back her body he buried her near the bank of the Yamuna in a small building and after that, he began to plant for the construction of a royal mausoleum for his wife.

In 1632 the final construction of the Royal mausoleum began. The construction of the main muscle was completed until 1639 and after that, the construction of the adjacent building was completed by 1643. After that the decoration work started which lasted till 1647. The complete structure of the Taj Mahal took around the time span of 22 years to get in the perfect condition that we witness today. The main architecture was constructed using semi-translucent white marble and the nearby buildings are constructed using red marbles. Shah Jahan wanted to construct a Paradise of dreams for her beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The different styles of architecture such as Indian, Islamic, Persian, Turkish, and Ottoman styles of architecture were used for the construction. The prominent architect of this mesmerizing Complex was Ahmed Shah Lahauri who constructed this mausoleum along with his thousands of craftsmen and artisans.

What is the Taj Mahal Famous for

Mumtaz Mahal who was the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan died on June 17, 1631, and after her death, he was surrounded by sadness and grief. After a year of her death, he decided to construct a memorial for making his love immortal. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world that is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage site and it is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Government of India. It is also known as the jewel of Muslim art in India and it is one of the most highly admired heritage of the world. Having the side of the Taj Mahal is surely an other-world experience. In today's time, the Taj Mahal is an iconic symbol of India that is famous all around the world and is visited by a huge crowd of national and international tourists each day.

What can we see inside the Taj Mahal

Inside the Taj Mahal, there is a marvelous work of art that is done using precious and semi-precious stones which can leave you awestruck. A fine work of marble is done to construct a  Jali around the sarcophagi and the awesome work of art is done on it. But to your surprise, these sarcophagi are just to show, the real one is kept in a quiet room in the basement just below the fake one. Tourists are strictly prohibited from visiting the real sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan that are kept in the basement.

Does Taj Mahal light up at Night

Actually, there is no artificial light installed in the Taj Mahal complex. One of the major questions that arise in the mind of almost every tourist is why there is no light within the Taj Mahal premises and a straight answer to this is when an artificial light glows at night it attracts various insects and flies which may harm the marble of Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal is one of the prestigious Heritage sites of India so the Government of India intends to protect it in any way it can. Though due to the increase in pollution and greenhouse effect Taj Mahal is already facing some real issues and the government of India does not want to increase the risk of harming the monument by installing an artificial light. Although just the rays of the moon are enough to make the whole monument glow like a pearl on a dark night.

How was the Taj Mahal constructed

The raw material for the construction of the Taj Mahal was transported using a thousand elephants. The white marble was transported from Makrana in Rajasthan. Crystals and Jade were transported from China, Turquoise was brought from Tibet, Jasper from Punjab, Sapphire was brought from Sri Lanka, Carnelian from Arabia, and Lapis Lazuli was brought from Afghanistan. Almost 28 varieties of semi-precious stones were used for doing inlay work on the marble.

Main Taj Complex

The Tajmahal complex has an ornamental Garden which is atypical Mughal Charbagh. There are Four Square Gardens that are separated by water bodies that are flowing through a marble plinth in between these Gardens. In the Northern part of this Complex, there is a raised platform that is constructed using white marble and this platform is holding the main mausoleum of this monument. Besides the main mausoleum, there are 4 minarets that are located on each corner of the elevated platform. These minarets are 40 meters in height and I tilted outwards so if in the future this Complex encounters the earthquake then the Minar will fall outwards without distracting the main mausoleum.

Buildings near Taj Mahal complex

Near the elevated complex, on both the left and right side of the main mausoleum, there are two identical buildings located at a certain distance among which one is the mosque for offering prayers and the other one is a guest house. There are three main entrance gates that are constructed out of red marble and are located in the Western eastern and Southern directions of this monument.

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Central Structure of Taj Mahal

The main mausoleum is constructed in a semi-translucent white marble which is having some interesting carvings and inlay work of semi-precious and precious gems. There are four sides of this mausoleum with identical carvings and detailing. On the top, there is a huge dome in the center along with four small domes located on the four corners of this complex. Under the Dome that is located in the center, there is a cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, which is having a magnificent work in Marbles and with gorgeous jellies and besides this, there is a cenotaph of Shah Jahan (Her Beloved Husband). This chamber is designed in such a way that during the time the ray of Sun passes through these challenges and Falls directly on the cenotaph. But these cenotaphs are not the original ones the original ones are kept in the basement room and public visiting is prohibited in this chamber.

Does Taj Mahal really change its color

Taj Mahal before sunrise

Before sunrise time Taj Mahal appears to be completely dark and a little ray That seems to be waking up the Taj Mahal. At this time the monument appears like a shadow and the view becomes really magnificent.

Taj Mahal after sunrise

The best view of the Taj Mahal can be witnessed during sunrise time as at this period of time the Taj Mahal turns red as the rays of the rising sun fall on it. Morning time is perfect to have a portrait shot as there is less number of tourists present during the sunrise time and also the Taj Mahal glows with yellow and pink color that looks really extraordinary in photographs.

Taj Mahal during the afternoon

During the afternoon time, the Taj Mahal appears to be milky white and completely bright. At this period of time, each and every detail of the Taj Mahal can be seen and it's the best time to capture some sharp pictures of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal during sunset

The sunset time which is also known as the golden hour turns the Taj Mahal into a pleasant yellow color that occurs due to the rays of the setting sun falling on the monument. During this time the site becomes really soothing and mesmerizing and is also the best time to capture some stunning photographs and keep them forever.

Taj Mahal during Full moon

During the full moon night, the beauty of the Taj Mahal gets enhanced as the light of the moon falls on the Taj Mahal, the monument and it feels like A shining Pearl among the stars. A huge crowd of tourists is attracted to have this view but the night view is only permitted for five days in a month that is on a full moon day and 2 days prior to the full moon and 2 days after the full moon.

What is the story behind the Black Taj Mahal

As per the Legend, it is said that Shahjahan wanted to construct a black Taj Mahal that is located on the exact opposite side of the Yamuna river which will be a replica of the white marble Taj Mahal. The construction of the black Taj Mahal was started but it remained incomplete as the son of Shahjahan, Aurangzeb imprisoned his father. And during the last day of his lifetime, Shajahan just used to sit in the prison and gaze at the Taj Mahal from the window of Agra fort located in proximity to Taj Mahal. After the death of Shahjahan, he was also buried in the white marble Taj Mahal, beside the grave of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

There was a French Traveller, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who visited Agra in 1640 and 1655 and he wrote that Shahjahan which to construct a black marble exactly on the opposite side of river Yamuna and I wanted to connect it with the white marble Taj Mahal through a silver bridge which will be constructed over the river Yamuna. The traces of black marble were witnessed by several archaeologists in the Mehtab Bagh and after the research, they declared that these Marbles were actually white in color but with the passage of time the white-colored stones turned into a black color.

Where is the main entrance of the Taj Mahal

The Western Gate of Taj Mahal

The Western gate of Taj Mahal is actually the main gate of entrance for this you can buy tickets near Saheli Burj. There is a red sandstone structure that is constructed outside the skate which is known as “Fatehpur Begum” which is dedicated to one of the wives of Shahjahan. This gate is actually the main entrance to the mausoleum, which can accommodate approximately 200 people at a time for offering Namaz.

The Eastern Gate of Taj Mahal

The tickets for the Eastern gate of the Taj Mahal are available at the entrance of the gate itself. This gate is facing Fatehabad and is having a Tomb that is dedicated to  Sirhindi Begum, another wife of Shah Jahan. This tomb is known as “Sirhi Darwaza” having magnificent architecture with 24 arches, a huge Courtyard, and a hall that is constructed in a unique 8 sided style.

The Southern Gate of Taj Mahal

The southernmost gate of the Taj Mahal is only meant for exit and no entry is allowed from here. This gate is also having a Tomb that is facing Mumtazabad. This tomb is dedicated to a maid of Mumtaz who always looked after her and is constructed in red sandstone. This Tomb is also having a huge Courtyard and a dome.

Taj Mahal Gates

Opening & Closing time

The Western Gate

Opens an hour before sunrise & closes 45 mins before sunset

The Eastern Gate

Opens an hour before sunrise & closes 45 mins before sunset

The Southern Gate

Only Exit

Is there any market near the Taj Mahal

Agra has one of the best shopping places in India. This market is famous particularly for buying handmade stuff and souvenirs. Sadar Bazar is one of the famous markets from where one can get garments, leather bags, handicraft items, etc. Subhash market which is famous for silk sarees and other products made up of silk is located near Jama Masjid and Agra Fort. Kinari Bazar is yet another popular shopping destination from where one can buy clothes, shoes, marble Handicrafts, jewelry, etc. Kinari Bazar is one of the best places to shop for a small replica of the Taj Mahal made with white marble. Lastly, Agra is having a Shilpgram market area where one can find open-air stalls and huts that are selling ethnic clothes, footwear, jewelry, and many such things. Handicraft items are the highlight of this art Bazaar located in Shilpgram.

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Are there any good restaurants near the Taj Mahal

Agra is having various restaurants with delightful smelling cuisines which you totally can't resist. There are various rooftop restaurants from where you can have a view of the Taj Mahal while enjoying your delicious meal. Some of the best restaurants located near Taj Mahal are Yes restaurant, Joney’s Place, Dostea Cafe, Yash Cafe, Treat Restaurant, Tea’se Me, Esphahan, Bambino Cafe & Restaurant, etc. These places have some really mouth-watering cuisines that will give your tastebuds an unrivaled flavour.

What are the days and times on which one can explore the Taj Mahal

You can explore the Taj Mahal, on all the days of a week except Friday as it remains closed for prayers on Friday. The normal timings when you can visit this magnificent monument are from 6 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Other than this on the occasion of the full moon and 2 days prior to the full moon and two days post full moon you can witness this fascinating monument in the moonlight from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Can we get accommodation near the Taj Mahal

Just imagine that you are staying in a five-star hotel with all the luxurious service and the view of the Taj Mahal which is one of the seven wonders from the window of your room is like a cherry on the cake. Now, this dream can be fulfilled at The Oberoi Amarvilas. Agra has multiple options for accommodation be it a hostel for backpackers, a budget hotel, a Deluxe hotel, or all luxury property. You can even have a view of the Taj Mahal from hostels and budget properties too. Some of the accommodations that are located in the proximity of the Taj Mahal are Joey’s Hostel, Hotel Atulyaa Taj, Taj Resorts, Radhe inn guest house, The Coral Court Homestay, Howard Plaza, Hotel President Agra, etc.

Which is the best month to explore the Taj Mahal

Early summer months which start from March till June month is the most appropriate time to visit the Taj Mahal as during these months the weather remains clear and pleasant. While during the winter months, most of the time Taj Mahal remains shadowed by fog and can’t be captured properly in photographs or videos. So it is advisable to avoid visiting the Taj Mahal Complex during the month of November till late February. Although there is no restriction and you can explore the Taj Mahal, all year round as per your wish. You can explore this ancient monument during all the days of the week except Friday.

Which is the nearest International and Domestic Airports near the Taj Mahal

The nearest International Airport is located in Delhi that is Indira Gandhi International Airport which is and the distance of 235 kilometers from Agra. The nearest Domestic Airport is located in Agra itself which is Agra airport is located at a distance of 11 kilometers from the center of Taj Mahal. From the International Airport, you can take any inter-State Bus or local cabs to reach your desired destination in Agra.

What are the important points that need to be kept in mind while visiting the Taj Mahal

Here is the list of some important point points that are needed to be considered while visiting the Taj Mahal:

  • Remember that the Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays so before planning your trip to the Taj Mahal make sure that you are not visiting this monument on Friday.
  • You can make a prior reservation and bring the printed e-ticket that you receive from the Archaeological Survey of India's official website along with valid ID proof to avoid a long queue for purchasing a ticket.
  • No tripods and phone chargers are allowed inside the Taj Mahal premises.
  • Photography is prohibited in the main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal.
  • You can't take any flammable, explosive, and sharp items along with you.
  • No tobacco and liquid items are allowed inside the premises.
  • You can't take along any kind of packed food with you.
  • Laptops or any reading, writing, or Painting materials are not allowed to be carried inside the complex.
  • Large bags and backpacks are not allowed. You can take along a sling bag or a side bag which is having some of the personal items.
  • You can visit the Taj Mahal complex during sunrise time to get better pictures and also it is less crowded at the time.
  • Lastly, the most important one is you need to wear a disposable shoe cover inside the Tajmahal complex to maintain its cleanliness and Prestige.

What is the ticketing price of the Taj Mahal

For Taj Mahal only:

Visitor Type

Ticket Price

Indian Visitor / Indian Nationals

INR 45

Foreigner Tourist

INR 1050

SAARC and BIMSTEC

INR 535

Children Below Age 15 (Indian/Foreigner)

Free

For Taj Mahal & Mausoleum both:

Visitor Type

Ticket Price

Indian Visitor / Indian Nationals

INR 245

Foreigner tourist

INR 1250

SAARC and BIMSTEC

INR 735

Children Below Age 15 (Indian/Foreigner)

Free

For the Night view of the Taj Mahal:

If you want to have a mesmerizing view of the Taj Mahal in the moonlight then you need to get your reservations done 24 hours prior to the visit. Tickets can be e booked online or from the Archaeological Survey of India office that is located on Agra Mall Road between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., only 400 tools are allowed inside the Taj Mahal Complex in a single night and these 400 tourists are divided into 8 batches of 50 members each and they are given the time duration of 30 minutes to explore the complex without entering the main building of Taj Mahal. The total time period to explore the Taj Mahal at night is from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and just on 5 days in a month. The days are full moon day and 2 days prior to full moon and two days post full moon and it remains closed on Friday.

Visitor Type

Ticket Price

Indian Visitor / Indian Nationals

INR 510

Foreigner tourist

INR 750

Children Below Age 15 (Indian/Foreigner)

INR 500

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