The Taj Mahal (hindi ताज महल, Arabic تاج محل), which means the Crown Palace is located in Agra, beside the Yamuna River in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is a white marble mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, also known as Mumtaz Mahal, which in Persian means "the light of the palace." She died on June 17, 1631, giving birth to their fourteenth child while she went to the campaign. It is a first burial on the spot in the garden Zainabad to Burhampur. Following his death on January 31, 1666, her husband was buried with it.
The construction began in 1632. However, there remains uncertainty about the exact date of completion of work. Columnist official Shah Jahan, Abdul Hamid Lahori indicates that the Taj Mahal was completed in late 1643 or early 1644. But at the main entrance an inscription indicates that the construction was completed in 1648. The State of Uttar Pradesh, which has officially celebrated the 350th anniversary of the building in 2004, says that the work was completed in 1654. Among the 20 000 persons who worked on the site, there are master craftsmen from Europe and Central Asia. The chief architect was Usad Ahmad of Lahore. On July 7, 2007, the famous monument has been designated as one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The Taj Mahal complex
The Taj Mahal was built using materials from various regions of India and the rest of Asia. More than 1 000 elephants are used to transport construction materials during the construction. The white marble is extracted from Rajasthan, Punjab comes from jasper, turquoise and malachite Tibet, lapis lazuli Sri Lanka, coral of the Red Sea, Persian Carnelian and Yemen, onyx Deccan and Persia, garnets of the Ganges and Boundelkhand, agate Yemen and Jaisalmer, rock crystal of the Himalayas. A total of 28 types of ornamental stones or polychrome were used to compose the grounds of marquetry inlaid in white marble.
The central dome of the tomb is surrounded by four minarets identical, who bow outwards so that in case of an earthquake, they collapse in the opposite direction of the tomb. To the left of the monument is a mosque, made of red sandstone, which was built in order to sanctify the place and provide a place of worship to pilgrims. On the right, is a symmetrical exact replica of the mosque, known as the jawab ( "response"), designed to maintain the architectural symmetry but is not used as a mosque because it is not oriented towards the Mecca. Finally, at the front of the monument was charbâgh ( "Four Gardens") traditional Persian planted with trees, and where flowers grow in abundance. The British viceroy Lord Curzon has replaced the garden with lawns typically British.
The complex of the Taj Mahal is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1983.
The Taj Mahal
The legend of planning by Shah Jahan of building a replica of the Taj symmetrical on the left bank is still alive. In black marble this time, the two buildings have been connected by a bridge. It seems that the first to be issued this idea is the jeweller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who went several times to India in search of stones and tells have attended several stages of construction. While his writings are an important historical source for knowledge of the country at that time, it seems that in this case it is left to abuse. He claims that the overthrow of Shah Jahan by his son prevented the start of work. It is unlikely however that they have been considered, the imperial treasure would not have allowed. This state of imperial finance was also one of the detonators of the struggle for his succession. Moreover, unlike the white marble that is found in abundance in Rajasthan, so a short distance and a very low price, even today, there is no black marble, at least not in the quantities necessary, India, which would have made construction costs are impossible to fulfil. Finally, excavations in front of the Taj, on the other side of the river have revealed structures, but it is the wall of the Mehtab Bagh, a garden built by Babur.
According to research presented at a television documentary by Sally Aitken (2006), on the other side of the river were in the middle of the gardens which Babur had built a huge basin. An avid symmetry, Babur wanted a Black Taj on the bank issue. According to research done during the filming of the documentary, it appears that during a night illuminated by the moon, the Taj Mahal was mirrored on the water, leaving freeze on it ... a Black Taj.
In his article The Myth of the Taj Mahal and a new theory of its symbolic meaning (Art Bulletin, Vol LXI, No. 1, March 1979, shown in the documentary The Mystery of the Taj Mahal, Ron Johnston, 1999), the Wayne Begley historian at the University of Iowa, made a thorough study of the symbolic significance of the Taj Mahal. He suggested that the organization of complex buildings and calligraphies of Amânat Khan who form an allegory adorn the day of the resurrection - Yom al-Dinn - when the dead will rise and will travel to the plains of paradise -- the garden of the Taj - to appear before Allah on his throne - the building itself, which unlike the previous mausoleums - Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb which is located in the same city, for example - is not the centre garden, but throne at the bottom of the complex.
Wayne Begley puts forward presence on the buildings in the complex of 22 passages in the Koran, including 14 complete suras, calligraphies black stones inlaid in white marble. If the presence of parts of the Koran seems quite natural, the choice of texts seems to characterize insistently places as an image of paradise. Thus the porch, which allows access to the garden door calligraphy of Sura 89, which ends with: "Oh you, soul subside, back to your Lord, met and approved; therefore among my servants and enter into My Heaven" the only passage where Allah is aimed at believer by a direct command. The calligraphy on the main building are the main topics of the last judgement plain and the delights of paradise, choices that are known to have been made jointly by the emperor, the calligrapher and the architect and who seem curious historian for a mausoleum, which celebrates the love that the emperor wore to his wife.
The historian also shows that the plan of the plain of paradise as it appears in the illustrated copy of the Futuhat Al Maqqia - Illuminations of Mecca - the Sufi master Ibn Arabî which belonged to the library Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, the father of Shah Jahan, is superimposed on a daunting with the plan of the complex, especially the mausoleum holding the position of the throne of God. In addition, the plan gardens that lead to the Taj Mahal follows the description of paradise with its four rivers of water, milk, wine and honey. At the outset, before the transformation made by the British, they housed an orchard as described by the Koran.
Wayne Begley then relies on the personality of the emperor to continue his demonstration. Shah Jahan was following its description based on texts, a despot imbued with his person, born in the year one thousand of the Muslim calendar was convinced of its importance, and he tended to identify with the perfect man Sufism, the master of the universe, which displayed and affirmed "its" legitimacy of power Mughal, a country which did not share mostly the same religion as him, building "his" version of heaven on earth. The complex would be, rather than a mausoleum for a beloved wife, an invention of the nineteenth century romantic repeated at will, an instrument of power, as may have been the Versailles palace built during the same century.
To leave the last word to Wayne Begley: The Taj, a building unprecedented, is probably one of the most powerful images of the Divine Majesty ever created. Its architectural beauty is the formal return of our mental concept most exalted, that of a deity without form ... Its beauty is on perhaps the manifestation of the deliberate intention to reflect the absolute beauty of God.
A Jai Singh palace or a temple of Shiva
According to the thesis developed by Purushottam Nagesh Oak, Shah Jahan would not have built the building, but would have bought the Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur palace of red sandstone, allegedly covered with marble and transformed into a tomb for his wife. Founder in 1964, the Indian Institute for Rewriting History (Institute for Rewrite History of India), he released the following year his book "Taj Mahal - The True Story" where he exhibited an argument Sometimes disturbing, to 110 points, which proves that the Taj Mahal is not, or rather, has not always been the mausoleum that is known, but that was before being transformed by the emperor , A palace and a temple dedicated to Shiva, the Tejomahalay (if it is possible that the two are not exclusive).
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