First Love – Taj Mahal

Being an Architect and before that, Taj Mahal is the first building that I love the most. Exactly said by famous English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold as, “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passion of an Emperor’s love wrought in living stones.” The famous one of the wonders of the world and personification of true love and passion, Emperor Shah Jahan built in memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. It is the most beautiful monument built by Mughal emperors and characterise the peak of Mughal architecture.

The Taj Mahal is a part of a highly structured complex consisting of decorative gateway, delightful designed garden, a brilliant water system and a mosque. The complex is to be found on the banks of Yamuna River.   The fundamental focus of the complex is the Tomb structure. It made completely out of white marble and its beauty lies in the symmetry of architecture. The Taj is placed at the raised square platform which is also made of white marble and four minarets at each corner. The union of solids and voids in combination with concave and convex design elements create a breath-taking effect of contrast. The exterior marble changes the colour periodically reflecting the light conditions of the day and produces an astonishing pearly sheer effect at night.

Around 22,000 masons, stonecutters, calligraphers and artisans from over India and Central Asia employed to make Shah Jahan’s dream come true which was designed on paper by Architect Ustad Ahmed Lahori. The fantastic intricate carvings tailored with precious gemstones like, opals, lapis lazuli and jade, offers spectacular flashes of colours against white background. Along with stucco, the calligraphy of verses from Quran and quotes from poems in black marble covers an exterior wall. Murals of herringbone, marble jallis, and geometric patterns of coloured mosaics wrap up the floor. The octagonal chamber is main funerary of Mumtaj and Shah Jahan which are enclosed within a marble screen, which is relatively simple crypt.

The systematic Mughal Garden is a vital part of mausoleum. The raised red sandstone pathways divide garden in four segments. Various trees planted in symmetrical equidistant pattern along central pathway shows cycle of life and death. It is designed in such a way that it offers unobstructed view of Taj from any random point within complex. Others buildings in Taj complex constructed in red sandstone only. The visual balance of white marble of Taj and red sandstone of other structures will amaze astonishing effect. The main entrance gateway or Darwaza-e-Rauza designed in such a way that standing outside the archway one cannot see Taj, but as entering it manifests. The mirror image of each other, the mosque on west and NakkarKhana or guest house on east adds the beauty of Taj.

It inspired me in many ways to work with vision, dedication, perfection and true love!

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