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Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, is one and a half hours by express train from New Delhi. Tourists from all over the world visit Agra to make a pilgrimage to Taj Mahal, one of India's most famous architectural wonder.

Taj Mahal, the most extravagant mausoleum of the Mughal Empress Mumtaz Mahal, is synonymous with India. Its curving, gently swelling marble dome and the square base upon which it rests is a familiar image from hundreds of brochures, travel books, Travel web sites and travel guides. Taj the timeless piece of art is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular monuments of the world.
Visit Taj Mahal
TajMahal Agra Baba tour and Travels Jammu J& kThe Structure of the Mausoleum : The mausoleum is a part of the huge complex comprising of a main gateway, an extensive garden, a mosque, a prayer house and outer enclosers.

The Main Gateway : The whole structure is made of red sandstone. This 150 ft. wide and nearly 100 ft. high, gateway features an elevated central arch with double storeyed wings on either side. Octagonal towers are attached to its corners. The most prominent feature of the gateway is the introduction of a boastful series of eleven attached umbrellas, flanked by turrets, above the central portal on the north and south sides. The door at the base is made heavily from eight different metals and studded with round knobs. Countless rooms with hallways are inside the huge gateway that divide in confusing manner. There is a large chamber with a vaulted roof, within the archway of this majestic entrance.

The richly embellished gateway has an impressive work of inlays and gemstones. If the Taj is beheld through this gateway, it looks small and far away as if built in three quarter scale. This is another optical trick. As one approaches the Taj, this trick turns into another trick - the mausoleum starts growing, and continues to grow until, the base is reached. The dome especially seems to expand as one comes near, almost as if it were being slowly inflated.

The gardens : The whole complex is carpeted with green grass from the main gateway to the Taj. This type of scenic garden were introduced to India by Baber, the first mughal emperor. The garden, basically in Persian design was artificially planned and made based on geometric arrangements of nature without any attempt at a natural look.

The Water Devices : The architect designed a clever system to acquire water for the Taj through underground pipes.

It is really creditable that the planner of this system spared no efforts - belonging to art, architecture and engineering - to create a perfect system without the slightest of faults. The garden is irrigated by the overflowing of canals. The north-south canal has inlets of water through fountains. The east-west receives its water through an interconnection with the north-south canal. Thus the quarters near the canals received a proper supply of water and could be used for growing flower-plants which would not hide the general view, while the distant quarters got a smaller supply of water meant for tall trees.

The Mosque : The Mosque is towards the west of the Taj Mahal. The monument in red sandstone faces towards Mecca and is used for prayer. Along the western boundary wall of the Mosque, there is a small stone structure in green shade, measuring 19 ft. by 6.5 ft., which marks the site where the mortal remains of the Mumtaz Mahal were first deposited, after being brought to Agra from Burhanpur. This was a temporary grave from where the remains were removed to the present place of internment in the mausoleum.

The Rest House : On the east side of the Taj stands the twin of the Mosque, a parallel structure also made of red sandstone, referred to as the jawab, or "answer". Because it faced against the Mecca, it was never used for prayer. Its presence there has always been something of a mystery. Was it a rest house for pilgrims, or a meeting hall before the faithfuls gathered before the prayer? More possible is the theory that its purpose was purely architectural, to counterbalance the Mosque and preserve the symmetry of the entire design on the platform.

Taj - The Marble Glory : The Taj Mahal is situated more than 900 ft. (275 m.) away from the main gateway at the opposite side of the garden. The marble tomb stands on its own marble plinth, raised almost 200 ft. in height, The marble plinth rests on a red sandstone platform that serves to level the land as it slopes to the river. Four tall minarets rise up from the four corners of the white marble plinth. They taper to a majestic height of 138 ft. and are crowned with eight windowed cupolas. These towers elegantly accent the central structure, the tomb framing the space like the rising of a jewel.

The entrance of the Taj Mahal is through the portal on the south side. Inside, two stories of eight rooms, which include four rectangular rooms on the sides and four octagonal small rooms at the corners, bounds the central chamber. The rooms were originally used by the mullahs to chant the Koran and for Musicians, who played Indians and Persian melodies. In this nine part plan, the visitor can circumambulate through the subsidiary rooms on each floor since they are interconnected. The central chamber is octagonal, and in the centre is the tomb of the queen and to one side is the casket of the emperor. The hall is 80 ft. high from the pavement.
 
 
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