The Taj Mahal is the epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures.
Here are 25 Interesting & Unknown Facts About "Taj Mahal"
1# Before his accession to the throne, Shah Jahan was popularly known as Prince Khurram.
2# Shah Jahan fell in love with the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum and married her, making her his third wife.
3# Arjumand Bano Begum was christened by Shah Jahan as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Chosen One Of The Palace” or “Jewel of the Palace”.
4# Shah Jahan lost Mumtaz Mahal, when she died giving birth to their 14h child.
5# The full height of the Taj Mahal is 73 metres (240 feet)
6# As many as 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were used to adorn the Taj with exquisite inlay work.
7# Construction of the Taj Mahal cost an estimated 32 million Indian rupees (the equivalent of over US $1 billion at the time).
8# The Taj Mahal takes on different colouring at different times of the day, from a pinkish hue in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night when lit by the moon. They say the changing colour resembles the changing mood of females – in particular the Emperor's queen.
9# Passages from Quran have been used as decorative elements throughout the complex.
10# On the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, 99 names of Allah can be found as calligraphic inscriptions.
11# Taj Mahal was built in stages, with the plinth and the tomb taking up roughly 15 years. Building of minarets, mosque, jawab, and gateway took additional 5 years to be completed.
12# Different types of marbles used in construction of Taj Mahal were brought over from many different regions & countries: Rajasthan, Punjab, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Srilanka, & Arabia.
13# Many precious stones and Lapis Lazuli (a semi-precious stone) were ripped off from its walls by the Britishers during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
14# Taj Mahal attracts 2-4 million visitors annually with over 200,000 from overseas.
15# It is estimated to have taken more than 22,000 people to build this impressive building including labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists, and many others.
16# According to legend it is believed that Emperor Shah Jahan had planned to construct another Taj Mahal in black marble on the other side of the river but the war with his sons interrupted his plans
17# It is said that the death so crushed the Emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white within just a few months.
18# The four sides of the Taj Mahal are perfectly identical creating an astonishingly mirrored image on each side. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.
19# The Taj Mahal is surrounded by significant gardens and a number of other buildings including a mosque and guest houses which make up the 17 hectares of land within the complex walls.
20# For the transportation of the construction materials, more than 1,000 elephants were employed.
21# By the late 19th century, the Taj Mahal had been defaced by the British soldiers who chiseled out precious stones from the walls of the monument. At the end of the 19th century, British Viceroy, Lord Curzon, ordered a restoration of the monument and also gifted a large lamp which hangs in the interior chambers of the Taj Mahal.
22# During British rule in India, the garden landscaping was changed to look more like the lawns in London, England. The original garden was adorned with lots of roses and daffodils.
23# Islamic tradition forbids the decoration of graves, so Shah Jahan and his wife are actually buried in a plain crypt beneath the main inner chamber.
24# Following the Taj Mahal's completion, Shah Jahan was put under house arrest in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan was only able to view the Taj Mahal from his window for the last eight years of his life.
25# The Taj Mahal was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, receiving over 100 million votes. Voting for the Taj Mahal actually helped push the controversial internet-and-phone-based poll into the world spotlight.
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