World’s Most Loved Monument – The Taj Mahal

The magnificent white marble structure spread across approximately 3 acres, standing tall as a Symbol of Love is nothing but the World’s most loved monument – The Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Agra between 1631 and 1648 in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to her 14th child. Taj Mahal is one of the most admired monuments and a World Heritage site. This Architectural masterpiece is an epitome of the visceral charisma that it emanates.


Emperor Shah Jahan, quite a popular name which pops an image of Taj Mahal in everyone’s mind. Shah Jahan was a Mughal emperor, who reigned Southern Asia from 1627 to 1658. The son of Emperor Jahangir, Shah Jahan was born as Prince Shihab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram in the Lahore, Pakistan of 1592. With his bravery and an ultimate fighting spirit, he was loved and honored with many titles. Shah Jahan also had a keen eye and expertise in the design of buildings and proved his skills by re-designing buildings within the Agra Fort. Of the many titles won by Shah Jahan, “The Builder of the Marvels” was one and the most deserving one.

Shah Jahan’s life changed when he was 15 years old when he met Arjumand Banu Begum. Shah Jahan was betrothed to Arjumand, the granddaughter of a Persian noble and married her in 1612. Arjumand Banu Begum was the love of his life. His affection towards her was extreme. He titled her “Mumtaz Mahal,” which means “Jewel of the Palace.” Mumtaz Mahal was his inseparable companion. She accompanied him even on military ventures. Mumtaz Mahal was Shah Jahan’s trusted confidante, and their relationship was intense, filled with love, deep affection and great respect.



Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 while giving the birth to their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. After his wife’s death, Shah Jahan started building Taj Mahal for his in the memory of his beautiful and most loved wife. Today, this white marble monument entombs Mumtaz Mahal as well as Shah Jahan. The beauty of wife and immense love for her was the true inspiration for building this symbol of love. As it is said, true love never dies; it will always be present in the universe. Even today, this symbol of love reflects the love in its aura.

Architecture and Design

The Taj Mahal has architectural confluences of the Indian, Persian and the Islamic architectures. With its beauty and intricately structured work, it is a symbol of high profile architectural skills. The chief architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori laid the foundation of this mausoleum with an inspiring result of the utilization of architectural and scientific research.

taj mahalTaj Mahal is an exceptional specimen of Mughal architecture with an architectural style that combines the elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. From 1983, the Taj Mahal is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has also been cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and is one of the admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage worldwide.” Even after decades of its construction, the Taj Mahal is admired as one of the most spectacular human-made monuments in the world. It leaves everyone awestruck with its grandeur. Beautiful architectural buildings along its side surround the Taj. These surrounding structures are equally attractive as the Taj itself.

The complete area of Taj Mahal consists of five major elements, viz Rauza (the Main Mausoleum), Bageecha (Gardens), Darwaza (the Main Gateway), Masjid (Mosque), and Mihman Khana (the Rest House).


The Rauza or the tomb displays the most eccentric architecture with raised tomb style. The Rauza of Taj Mahal stands on a square elevated platform that is 23 ft. above the riverbank. There are four minarets raised with pride on each corner of this platform facing the chamfered angles. These minarets are at 137 ft. to enhance the beauty of the spherical dome. The dome has a diameter of 58 ft. with a dome rising at the height of 240 ft. The surrounding smaller domes are of 165.5 ft. height. The Rauza is the tomb for Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan both. Its exterior is decorated with more than 28 semi-precious and precious stones.


Taj Bageecha is an indispensable element of the Taj Mahal which genuinely spellbinds the visitors. Designed in Persian Timurid style, the Bageecha is full of with beautiful flower-beds, chirping birds, fresh leaves. The Taj Garden is also called ‘Paradise Garden.’ According to Islamic beliefs, it is believed to have four rivers: one of water, one of milk, one of honey, and one of wine. These gardens are of 984 ft. by 984 ft.

The whole garden is in four blocks called Charbhag Garden of Taj. The garden is fountains which flow from the center, plants, and flower beds to enhance the beauty of the magnificent Taj Mahal. There are 16 flower beds in each block which is additionally divided by stone-paved raised lanes. Roughly 400 plants are there in each flower bed. The symmetrical arrangement of the gardens has trees and plants of Cyprus (implying death) or of the fruit-bearing type (implying life).

As you enter through the Darwaza-i-rauza (main gate) of the Taj Mahal, you will get into the gardens. The monument stands at the farthest end with gardens till the tomb giving the whole memorial tomb the effect of depth. A marble lotus-tank flows from the center of the garden reflecting the water image of The Taj. The well-maintained garden aesthetically brings a natural scene to take a snap through distant spots.


Darwaza-i-rauza is one of the most important elements of the Taj Mahal. It is the main gateway to the Charbhag gardens which, allegorically, means Paradise. The Darwaza-i-rauza is also “The Great Gate.” Actually, Darwaza-i-rauza is a rectangular building of 150 ft. wide and 100 ft. high. The building looks like a defensive structure because of it flanked architecture turrets and chhatris.

Chhatris are the main essence of the Darwaza architecture. The “guldastas” as called is an arrangement of 11 identical and contiguous chhatris, which forms a gallery giving the structure a defensive feel. The inner courtyard is of several identical rooms. The great Darwaza-i-rauza marks the inception of the grand monument. It makes the visitors ready to witness the grandeur of the magnificent TAJ MAHAL. Once you pass the Darwaza-i-rauza, you will find yourself in the beautiful Gardens of Taj.


The Taj has outlying buildings has a mosque in the complex. It is a red building on the farthest end of the complex on banks of river Yamuna. The mosque enhances the already existing splendor of the Taj Mahal. The mosque stands on the western side that is logically towards Mecca.  It is a red sandstone structure veneered with white rectangular marble. Every corner of the rectangle is outfitted with an octagonal turret, somewhat narrow, ending with a chhatri.

On the rooftop are three domes, one in the center and two on the left and right. They are alike besides the size. The central dome is bigger than the other two. They look similar to two drops of water to that of the dome of the mausoleum, with two decorations each. Decoration at their bases consists of two lines of geometric patterns, and one at the top, an inverted lotus. The lotus is a symbolic flower in the Hindu religion. It marks the progression of life, the evolution of man to in this environment, regeneration. Each chhatri and dome has a bronze arrow pointing to the sky.

The Taj mosque has three entrances. The floor covering in the mosque is of prayer rug of total 596 places. The interior, as well as the exterior walls of the mosque, are richly decorated with marble inlay. The motifs are mainly floral and plant. The use of simple geometric patterns is for adding the symmetric touch. The whole monument has an essence of symmetry. Its the overall impression is beautiful, the mosque of Taj Mahal is of great beauty. Also, there are numerous engraved verses of the Koran on the walls, in incrustation.

Naqqar Khana

The Naqqar Khana or the guest house is the similar building like the mosque standing exactly opposite to it. It is very similar to the mosque but differs in some features. Naqqar Khana stands on the east of the tomb. This Red Sandstone structure is devoid of Mihrab and Minbar with the simple flooring. The interior is only a large room without separation walls. The guest house is also well preserved till date.

The Naqqar Khana also called as “Mihman Khana” or “Jawab” was used as a rest home for guests on the anniversaries of the death of Mumtaz Mahal. It also served as a meeting place for those who came to visit the Mausoleum.

 Construction of the Taj Mahal

Well, to build the structure so big, one can imagine the time and efforts taken by the workers. Around 20,000 workers put toiled and worked for almost 22 years to curate this grand love symbol.

 construction of the Taj MahalThe construction of Taj Mahal commenced in 1631. The whole complex of Taj Mahal was built in stages with the order as plinth, tomb, mosques and main gate. In 1653, the complex was ready, done and dusted into a majestic and charismatic monument which represented love worldwide. The creation of the Taj Mahal partially ruined the emperor’s treasure, but as it is said; “Everything is fair in Love and War,” proved right here. The Architecture Style of the Taj Mahal is Indo-Islamic. Taj Mahal is a beautiful confluence of the Hindu, Persian and the Islamic architectural styles. This mixture indeed produces a masterpiece for the entire world.

Workers and Craftsmen

Craftsmen from all the fields were called to build the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan was the initiator of this project. Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the chief architect. They are calligraphers, masons, draughtsmen, stonemasons, dome builders, sculptors, marketers, carpenters, and garden designers. Its known that also the calligraphers were from Syria and Persia, the sculptors were from Bukhara. The workers and designers who created the inlays were from southern India and the stonecutters from Baluchistan. Many other workers came from Punjab, Rajasthan, Malwa, and Gujarat. Most of the workers were from North India.


The Taj Mahal draws around 7 to 8 million visitors yearly, with more than 0.9 million from abroad. Mostly the tourists visit in the colder months from October to February. The Taj Mahal, an epitome of love, resides in the city of Agra which is around 233 km from Delhi. Taj Mahal is the “UNESCO World Heritage Site.” Also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The masterpiece draws a lot of domestic as well as international tourists all year round. Such is the inviting charm and appealing essence of the mausoleum that visitors visit it time and again.

How to Reach Taj Mahal

Are planning a trip to explore the beauty of this marvelous masterpiece? The very first question that would strike your mind will be how to reach the Taj Mahal?

Traveling By Air?

Air routes connect Agra very well. As airlines are the fastest way of reaching the Taj city; flights to and from Agra are available daily.

Traveling By Rail?

A good network of trains connects Agra with all the prominent places of India. The main trains connecting Agra with Delhi are Rajdhani Express, Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi Express, and Taj Express.

Traveling By Road?

A regular service operates connecting Agra and prominent places in the NCR (National Capital Region) like Delhi, Noida, and Gurugram. Also, buses run on routes to Agra from like Fatehpur-Sikri, Jaipur, Mathura, etc.

The Local Transportation

Once you reach the Taj city, Agra, you will need to find some local transport to reach the main monument. You can easily find rental taxis, cars and auto rickshaws available from the airport, railway stations and bus stops. Prepaid taxis are available o the Taj Mahal. Vehicles are not allowed in the particular area in order to keep Pollution away from Taj Mahal. Bicycles, battery-operated buses, also horse-driven Tongas, and other pollution-free vehicles available to reach the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal Timings – Visiting Hours

Taj Mahal is open for visitors from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. sunrise to sunset on all the weekdays. The Taj is closed on Fridays for general viewing. However, it is open from noon to 2 p.m. for prayers.

The Taj Mahal Timings are released on the full-moon nights, also on the night before. After the full moon for the visitors to witness the breath-taking gaze at the monument. Moon-light viewing is not allowed during the month of Ramadan and on Fridays.

Western Gate:

Tickets are available on Western Gate near Saheli Burj.

Taj Mahal Timings – One Hour before Sunrise till 45 min before Sunset).

Eastern Gate:

Tickets are available at Eastern Gate of Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal Timing -One Hour before Sunrise till 45 Minutes before Sunset

Southern Gate:

No Entry from this gate at Present is not allowed from this gate the only Exit is permitted.

Tickets can be bought at all three Taj Mahal entry gates. There are separate queues for foreign tourists and Domestic tourists.

Entry fee for Indians:
  • Adults: 40
  • Children: Free entry for children below the age of 15 years.
Entry fee for Foreigners:
  • Adults: 1,000
  • Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries: 530
  • Children: Free entry for children below the age of 15 years.
Online tickets or e-tickets are also available for the visitors.

Visitors buying tickets online are given a discount of Rs.5/- for per Indian ticket & Rs. 50/- for per Foreigner ticket.

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