The Taj mausoleum stands on the northern end of Taj gardens, on the bank of river yamuna. This beautiful monument has often been described by poets as 'poetry in marble' and its hard to disagree.
Taj mausoleum : side view
It stands on a raised white marble platform which is about 22 feet high and 180 feet square. Due to this raised height, the backdrop of the Taj mausoleum is only the sky, a brilliant design idea indeed.
As is every thing about the Taj mahal, the Taj mausoleum is all about symmetry. It appears identical from all four sides, from any angle you look at it, it still looks beautiful.
The materials used for its construction were brought from all over India and central Asia, with the main ingredient, of course the white marble, was brought from Makrana in Rajasthan.
Taj mausoleum : Entrance to the tombs
The monument is the ultimate testimonial to the craftsmanship of that era, as all the huge pieces of marble were cut flawlessly without any cracks.
The central inner dome is about 80 feet high while the outer dome is nearly 200 feet in height. The shape of the main central dome is emphasised by four smaller funnel shaped kiosks placed at its corners.
The central dome was topped by a guilded gold pinacle, which was replaced by bronze in early 19th century.
Calligraphy inside Taj
Below the main dome is the false tomb of Mumtaj mahal, and to its side is the false tomb of Shah jahan.
The false tombs are surrounded on the sides by a perforated marble screen. The real tombs are in a locked chamber below the false tombs.
Islamic calligraphic designs, mostly verses from the Koran were inlaid in black stone both inside and outside of the monument. Perforated marble screens were used in walls of main chamber to transmit light inside.
The semitranslucent 'white makrana marble' structure is carved with flowers and inlaid with semiprecious stones in beautiful patterns.
The four minarets, each about 137 feet tall are set in four corners of the main dome. They are shorter in height then the main dome to highlight the effect of the dominent main dome.
The minarets are designed to lean outwards so that in event of an major earthquake, they would fall away from the Taj Mausoleum.
The minarets were divided into three parts by two working balconies, which were used to call islamic faithful for prayers.
The translucent marble mausoleum with its embedded translucent stones reflects light differently during separate times of the day, this magical change of colors gives viewing Taj at differnt times a whole new experience.