The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why. The pearly white palace tomb is a gleaming testament to love, India and symmetrical art. Whether you’re visiting or just looking to brush up on your knowledge of one of India’s most beloved cultural sites – here are seven amazing facts about the Taj Mahal.
Amazing Facts About The Taj Mahal
1. It’s In The Name Of Love
Emperor Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built in honour of his third wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, also known as Mumtaz Mahal. Their marriage lasted 19 years and resulted in the 14 children. After Mahal’s untimely death due to birth complications, Shah Jahan was absolutely devastated. After suffering what the worst heartbreak of his life, he decided to honour her with a tomb that would later become the Taj Mahal.
2. The Grave Site Is The Only Area Asymmetric And Undecorated
Per Muslim law on vanity, graves cannot be lavishly decorated, which is why the tomb where Mahal is laid is plain compared to the surrounding grounds. Additionally, the Taj Mahal is full of perfect symmetry and mesmerising geometrical art. However, while Mahal’s casket is in the perfect centre of the tomb, Shah Jahan’s casket breaks symmetry by being slightly smaller and off-centre.
3. “Written By The Insignificant”
The palace tomb is full of breathtaking calligraphy, some of which includes several passages from the Quran. The calligrapher Abd-al Haqq who oversaw the project signed his work in the Taj Mahal with a unique and humble message – “Written by the insignificant being, Amanat Khan Shirazi.”
4. India Has Gone To Great Lengths To Hide It
Given its status as a global monument and icon of India, the Taj Mahal has been a huge target in wartime. Throughout WWII, the government has come up with creative ways to protect the landmark. Namely, architects added scaffolding to conceal the Taj Mahal from airborne attacks so that when an air bomber flew overhead, they’d see an illusion of bamboo instead of the palace.
5. Cars And Buses Have To Steer Clear
That’s right, the Taj Mahal has a bit of a restraining order against automobiles. To prevent any deterioration of the gleaming white marble, any exhaust vehicle must remain at least 500 meters away.
6. Shah Jahan Was Banned From Visiting
In the years leading up to his death, Shah Jahan became extremely ill. During this time, his sons Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb were fighting for power over the throne. Shah Jahan sided with Dara Shikoh, but sadly Aurangzeb took over the empire, killed Dara and imprisoned Shah Jahan. In the last years of his life, Shah Kahan was only able to view his Taj Mahal from the grounds of the neighbouring residence where he was held.
7. It Was Built With Collapse In Mind
As mentioned, the palace tomb is full of perfect mathematical geometry and symmetry. The chief architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, had a unique idea to protect Mahal’s crypt in the event of a collapse. He did this by slightly tilting the four minarets (the surrounding spires). So that in the event of a disaster, the palace would collapse around the crypt instead of on top of it.