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Did You Know These 12 Facts About The Taj Mahal?

Did You Know These 12 Facts About The Taj Mahal?

By Ruchi Joshi

22 Mar, 2023

"A teardrop on the cheek of time" is how Rabindranath Tagore, describes the beauty and magnificence of the Taj Mahal. Whether visit it in person or relish it through photographs, we can bet you fell in love with this symbol of love and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Located in Agra, Taj Mahal attracts approximately 7 to 8 million visitors annually. Therefore, today we are going to reveal some unknown secrets and facts about the Taj Mahal - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Taj Mahal

Picture - Unsplash

12 facts about the Taj Mahal that you might not know -

1. A symbol of love

Taj Mahal stands strong, even after hundreds of years, as a symbol of the undying and eternal love of Shah Jahan I (fifth Mughal Emperor) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.. He was so grief-stricken by her death that he built this architectural marvel in remembrance. But did you know that Mumtaz Mahal did not die in Agra? Yes, you read it right. She died during the birth of their fourteenth child (Gauhar Ara Begum) in Burhanpur (located in present-day Madhya Pradesh). She was previously buried in Burhanpur and later her remains were transferred to be buried at the Taj Mahal.

2. Symmetrical design 

Taj Mahal

Picture - Unsplash 

This marvellous white marble mausoleum is an almost symmetrical delight. Almost? Yes. From the minarets to the chambers to the designs, everything is balanced in symmetry. Moreover, the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal lies in the geometric centre of the mausoleum but the cenotaph of Shah Jahan beside hers breaks the symmetry. Some believe that Shah Jahan wanted to build a black Taj Mahal opposite the white Taj Mahal to bury his remains but it is just a theory as no evidence has been found to support the claim. When Shah Jahan died in captivity, he was quietly laid in peace beside Mumtaz Mahal by his captor and then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

3. The Original Cenotaphs

According to the traditions and customs of Islam, graves are not supposed to be decorated. Hence the cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, in the octagonal hall with 24 feet to a side and two tiers of eight radiating seats, are empty. However, their actual remains are buried in a quiet room below their cenotaphs at the ground level of the gardens at the Taj Mahal complex. It is one of the lesser-known facts about the Taj Mahal.


Picture - Unsplash 

4. One Of The Wonders

It was in 2007 that the Taj Mahal was included in the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal is a part of the rich Indian history and it is important to preserve the opulence and grandiosity of this heritage. Due to the rising amount of air pollution, the concern regarding the yellowing of the white marble of the Taj is rising and to combat the issue at hand Archaeological Survey of India used Multani Mitti on certain portions in 1994. Furthermore, the results were surprising as this mud pack was an effective strategy to handle the discolouration of the historical monument.

5. Say No To Pollution

Mud pack treatment is not the only measure to preserve the heritage of the Taj Mahal, right? The Archaeological Survey of India and the Government thinks the same and so no polluting vehicles are allowed within 500 meters radius of the Taj Mahal. Only battery-operated buses and golf carts are permitted around the complex. Did you know that it is forbidden to fly any aeroplane or aircraft over the Taj Mahal? Oh yes, it is a no-fly zone to avoid the effects of pollution and for security purposes.


Picture - Unsplash 

6. Myth Vs Fact

Raise your hands if you have heard about how the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered to slay the hands of the workers and artisans who helped build this architectural gem so that another magnificent monument can never overshadow the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Here we are to bust the widely popular myth. Surprisingly, there's no proof found by archaeologists and historians about such an event ever happening. Additionally, all the 20,000 artisans and craftsmen were remunerated fairly and till today are praised for their skills.

7. The Minarets

The 4 minarets surrounding the Taj Mahal are so beautiful, aren’t they? But have you noticed that all of them are not perpendicular; instead they are slightly leaning on the outward side? If not, please check it out on your next visit. Do you know why? It is a smart architectural decision. Incidently, to protect the main dome and building of the Taj Mahal in case of calamities like earthquakes, the pillars are constructed with an outward leaning so that even if they fall off, the main building still remains safe.

8. Taller Than Qutub Minar?

The famous Qutub Minar in Delhi is the tallest brick minaret in the world. Now it is time for another fact about our white marble mausoleum. Interestingly, one of the lesser-known facts about the Taj Mahal is that it is approximately 5 feet taller than Qutub Minar. Similarly, their individual heights are 243 feet and 238 feet respectively. Nevertheless, both monuments are extremely unique and definitely worth a visit.

Qutub Minar in Delhi

Picture - Unsplash 

9. Protecting The Legacy

Have you ever wondered what happens to precious monuments like the Taj Mahal during wars? The enemies are certainly interested in targeting the most prized piece of a nation’s cultural heritage. Well, the Archeological Survey of India has worked specifically on a few such occasions to conceal Taj Mahal so that it can not be spotted and targeted. Once it was during World War II and another time during the India-Pakistan war in 1971. For the same reason, it was covered with a huge scaffold to make it appear like a stockpile of bamboo.

10. The Taj Of Agra

Located right on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is like a Taj (crown) of the city of Agra. In order for that to happen, the location of the river proved to be a boon. An interesting fact about the Taj Mahal is that if the Yamuna was not there, it would never have been built. You might not know but the foundation of this monument is made out of timber. Moreover, it needs moisture to keep up its strength and with that the Taj Mahal. Luckily, since it is on the banks of Yamuna, the wood constantly gets the required wetness to hold the magnificent Taj Mahal.

delhi taj

Picture - Unsplash 

11. Changing Colours

The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love for some and an object of love for many. The sublime pureness of the marble and the intricate designs are one of the many reasons we love the Taj Mahal. If you are still bereft of those feelings then we must urge you to spend one whole day observing or visiting it during the different hours of the day. It appears to be changing colours. Oh no, we are not kidding. Particularly in the early morning hours, you find the Taj Mahal with a tinge bit in pinkish hue while the orange overpowers at sunset hours and on a full moon night, expect it to shine in a milky white appearance.

12. Lights Out

Most historical monuments are decorated with lights at dusk to make them look even more attractive and alluring but the Taj Mahal is never illuminated with lights. Do you want to know why? Lights attract insects and insects would leave behind their excrement, potentially tarnishing the historical monument. To avoid such scenarios and also security threats, the Taj Mahal is not decorated with lights. But don’t be disheartened, you can still view the marvellous structure in the natural moonlight which adds an ethereal essence to it.

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