Pre-reading Questions:1. What country is Taj Mahal in?
2. The size of Taj Mahal?
Taj Mahal India
Inscribed :1979 Criteria: C (iii)
An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna river.
Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is an "elegy in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.
Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.
The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements. Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration. The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.
Tips etc. 国威が最盛期にあったムガル帝国の第 5代皇帝シャー・ジャハーン （在位 1628〜1658） は、1630年に帝国の軍隊を率いてデカン高原へと向かった。 アッラーの加護を得て、南インドも版図に組み込もうとしたのである。 このとき、皇帝の愛する王妃ムムターズ・マハルは身ごもっていたが、夫の遠征につき従っていた。 そして翌年、中部インドのブルハンプルで皇帝の 14番めの子供を出産したのち、その産褥熱 （さんじょくねつ） がもとで、38歳にして世を去ってしまった。その王妃に先立たれると、シャー・ジャハーン帝は国中が 2年間の喪に服すことを命じ、みずからも深い悲しみに沈んで、生涯心が晴れることがなかったという。 帝国の領土拡大や宮廷政治に意欲を燃やし、「世界の王 （シャー・ジャハーン）」 と名のったかつての面影はなく、ただムムターズ・マハルをしのび、彼女の記憶を永遠に留めるために墓廟の建設に没頭した。 それこそインド亜大陸で最も壮麗にして典雅な、タージ・マハル廟である。
Taj Mahal wikipedia
by syouhei kominami, Aoyama Gakuin College of Economics
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