Category: News @ Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal: A teardrop on the cheek of time

Iftu Ahmed writing from Aurora, IL, USA

The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Poet Rabindranath Tagore, the first Indian and Asian Nobel laureate, described the Taj Mahal as “a teardrop on the cheek of time.”

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra on the bank of River Jamuna, in India built by the 5th Mughal Emperor Shahjahan (1627-1658) in commemoration of his beloved wife Arzu Manda Banu Begum alias Momtaj Mahal which marked a perfect monument in the evolution of Mughal architecture.

It has been said that 20,000 workers built this world-famous Taj Mahal at the cost of Tk 30 million, which is equivalent to US$ 30 million in 22 years.

The earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shahjahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones.

The Taj Mahal is made of white marble and the rests on a platform of red sandstone. Passages from the Quran, decorate the outside along with inlaid floral patterns. A central room contains two cenotaphs (monuments) where the bodies of Shahjahan and his wife lie in a vault below. The tomb stands in a garden where pools reflect the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

The construction materials of the Taj Mahal came from all over India and Asia. The translucent white marble was brought from Markana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, the jade and crystal from China, the turquoise from Tibet, the lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, the sapphire from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia.

Twenty-eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble which was so shiny that various lights used to play beautifully after reflection on the white marble. In the dawn, it would seem like a dreamland. In the daylight, it would be pearly white splendour. At moonlit night, its architectural beauty and treatment would reach the highest degree of perfection. Percy Brown, the author of Indian Architecture wrote: “The Taj Mahal seems as if the hand of nature and the hand of man had united as one at their utmost to produce a spectacle of supremely moving beauty.”

The origin of Taj Mahal was indigenous and entirely free from any external influence. No doubt that the various architects contributed to the Taj Mahal. It was Ustad Ahmad Lahawri, an Indian of Persian descent, who is generally considered as the principal architect of Taj Mahal. So, the Taj Mahal is a monument based on Indian, Persian and Islamic styles. The European writers advocate Geronimo Veroneo, the Italian jeweller, as the main architect of Taj Mahal. This theory has not been much supported in India. Thus, the Taj Mahal is universally recognised as “the jewel of Muslim art in India.”

Today, between 2.0 and 4.0 million visitors visit the Taj Mahal annually including over 200,000 from overseas. October, November and February, the three months are the peak seasons for the visitors.

Unfortunately, these days the renowned white marble of the 17th century Taj Mahal looks more yellow than white due acid rain, air and environmental pollutions, and toxic sulfur gases from factories and Mathura Oil Refinery on the banks of the Jamuna. The Supreme Court of India opposes these types of pollutions around the Taj Mahal.

In the meantime, the Indian government has set up The Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) to control pollution around Taj Mahal through strict emissions standards. As a result, polluting traffics are not allowed near the Taj Mahal and visitors must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus.

The Taj visitors around the globe hope that the monument of pearly white splendour will be restored to its past glory.

Architectural monuments are very important to us in studying the source of history. These are the assets and the treasures of knowledge. Economically, a tourism industry can grow in preserving historical values and materials. The Ministry of Tourism in Bangladesh can focus on these by creating a Historical Society in every district which will collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich historical, social, sporting, cultural, artistic, and ethnic heritages of the district and the surrounding areas through professional preservation personnel, architectural expertise, technical assistances and rehabilitation resources. [Article link]

Category: News @ Taj Mahal