Red sandstone mosque (left, west) and mausoleum, in the Taj Mahal complex, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was Shah Jahan (1628–58) who perfected Mughal architecture and erected at Agra its most noble and famous building, the tomb of his favorite wife, which is known as the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”) by her husband, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58). Shah Jahan is credited as the chief architect of the Taj Mahal. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna River allowed for easy access to water, and Agra soon earned the reputation as a “riverfront garden city,” on account of its meticulously planned gardens, lush with flowering bushes and fruit-bearing trees in the sixteenth century. This expansive complex is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture. c) Aurangzeb. See more Encyclopedia articles on: Asian and Middle Eastern Art. First conquered by Muslim invaders in the eleventh century, the city had been transformed into a flourishing area of trade during Shah Jahan’s rule. In total, construction of the 42-acre (17-hectare) complex spanned 22 years. It took 20 years to build the Taj Mahal, and it was built in Agra, India, on the southern bank of the Yamuna River. The colours serve to moderate the dazzling expanse of the white Makrana marble. Mughal art and architecture: Shah Jahan It was Shah Jahan (1628–58) who perfected Mughal architecture and erected at Agra its most noble and famous building, the tomb of his favorite wife, which is known as the Taj Mahal. Construction began in 1632 under the orders of the Great Mogul Emperor, Shah Jahan. Check our encyclopedia for a gloss on thousands of topics from biographies to the table of elements. In addition, it increasingly has come to be seen as an Indian cultural symbol. For Indian Muslims, the Jama Masjid is considered the "National Mosque of India" respectively. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”). 7) Which famous mosque was built by Shah Jahan? On account of the intense interest taken and vigorous efforts made in raising magnificent and spacious buildings by Shah Jahan the Mughal period in general and his period in specific came to be known as the golden period of Indian architecture. A huge white marble building of simple, symmetrical plan, it is inlaid with colorful semiprecious materials and is set in an equally beautiful and symmetrical garden. Learn more about the mythic conflict between the Argives and the Trojans. Thanks for the A2A. The one in the center of the room belongs to Mumtaz Mahal and the one just to the west is for Shah Jahan. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The mausoleum itself was completed by about 1638–39. No wonder Taj Mahal is one of the most fascinating architectural marvels in the world. 6) Which throne was built by Shah Jahan? A major restoration was carried out at the beginning of the 20th century under the direction of Lord Curzon, then the British viceroy of India. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Taj-Mahal, Cultural India - Indian Monuments - Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, Public Broadcasting Service - Treasures of the World - Taj Mahal: Memorial to Love, Public Broadcasting Service- Treasures of the World - Hope Diamond, Taj Mahal - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Taj Mahal - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Building of the Taj Mahal began about 1632. Perfection And Vision In Architecture: The Taj Mahal. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal in 1632 as a mausoleum for his beloved wife. According to a 17th century Spanish account, he employed a Venetian, Geronimo Veroneo, and a Frenchman, Austin de Bordeaux. Brush up on your geography and finally learn what countries are in Eastern Europe with our maps. The Taj Mahal is also one of the world’s most iconic monuments, visited by millions of tourists each year. The complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. The Khaas Mahal is an airy edifice; facing the specially laid Angoori Bagh. He did have several "pet" architects who were part of his royal court, and over the years, various individuals eit… The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum complex in Agra, western Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. In its harmonious proportions and its fluid incorporation of decorative elements, the Taj Mahal is distinguished as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a blend of Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles. He was one of the greatest patrons of Mughal architecture. Our editors update and regularly refine this enormous body of information to bring you reliable information. Crowning the northern and southern facades of the gateway are matching rows of white chattris (chhattris; cupola-like structures), 11 to each facade, accompanied by thin ornamental minarets that rise to some 98 feet (30 metres). Building commenced about 1632. Shah Jahan left behind a grand legacy of structures constructed during his reign. The Minarets lean slightly outwards instead of standing straight. The structure is situated on a raised square plinth, also made of white marble, at a height of 50 m from the river level, at one end of the complex. The interior of the mausoleum is organized around an octagonal marble chamber ornamented with low-relief carvings and semiprecious stones (pietra dura). Every year lakhs of tourists visit Agra to see the beauty of Taj Mahal. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. India's most iconic structure, the Taj Mahal, has stood strong for almost 400 years. The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan: Art, Architecture, Politics, Law and Literature. Shah Jahan established (1638) Delhi as his capital and built there the famous Red Fort, which contained the imperial Mughal palace. From time to time the Taj Mahal has been subject to India’s political dynamics. The tomb itself is situated at the center of the plinth, framed by four equidistant minarets. FEN Learning is part of Sandbox Networks, a digital learning company that operates education services and products for the 21st century. Shalimar Gardens. Reviewed by Lee Lawrence on September 9, 2020. More than 20,000 workers were employed from India, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Europe to complete the mausoleum itself by about 1638–39; the adjunct buildings were finished by 1643, and decoration work continued until at least 1647. However, the war of Shah Jahan with his sons put those plans to a halt. A number of measures have been taken to reduce the threat to the monument, among them the closing of some foundries and the installation of pollution-control equipment at others, the creation of a parkland buffer zone around the complex, and the banning of nearby vehicular traffic. The five principal elements of the complex—main gateway, garden, mosque, jawāb (literally “answer”; a building mirroring the mosque), and mausoleum (including its four minarets)—were conceived and designed as a unified entity according to the tenets of Mughal building practice, which allowed no subsequent addition or alteration. Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum built between 1632 and 1648 by Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in Agra, where he took the throne in 1628. Portraiture was most highly developed at his sophisticated court, and ink drawings were of high quality. One of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world, the Taj Mahal is also one of the world’s most iconic monuments, visited by millions of tourists each year. The sandstone gateway at the southern end of the Taj Mahal complex, Agra, India. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. On the main floor of the Taj Mahal above the crypt now sits two cenotaphs (empty public tombs). More recently, air pollution caused by emissions from foundries and other nearby factories and exhaust from motor vehicles has damaged the mausoleum, notably its marble facade. Gateway to the Taj Mahal complex, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Infoplease is part of the FEN Learning family of educational and reference sites for parents, teachers and students. Another legend says that Shah Jahan wanted to build another monument like the white marvel but with black marble on the other side of River Yamuna. She died in childbirth in 1631, after having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. Learn about one of the world's oldest and most popular religions. b) Shahjahanabad. Some historians have credited Shah Jahan himself as being the true architect of the Taj Mahal. The Shalimar Gardens (1641–1642) built on the orders of Shah Jahan in Lahore, Pakistan, is also on the UNESCO world heritage list. The Taj Mahal is one of the world's most iconic historical superstructures and India's gem. Taj Mahal, also spelled Tadj Mahall, mausoleum complex in Agra, western Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. The Taj Mahal is built of white marble that reflects hues according to the intensity of the sunlight or the moonlight. A marble portal of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. 5) Which city was built by Shah Jahan as his capital? Architecture in general saw the best of Mughal construction during his time. It is the Love that built the Taj, it was something beyond architecture, within every wall of Taj there includes the most precious feelings and a strong bond of relation that makes the Taj Mahal the most iconic symbol of love. The fort was constructed by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, when he wanted to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Red Fort under Aurungzeb Calligraphy also encircles the soaring arched entrances to the mausoleum proper. Roshanara Begum, Shah Jahan’s second daughter, is best known for … The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”). He was deposed in 1658 by his son Aurangzeb, however, and was imprisoned for the rest of his life in Agra Fort. The complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. The plans for the complex have been attributed to various architects of the period, though the chief architect was probably Ustad Aḥmad LahawrÄ«, an Indian of Persian descent. When Shah Jahan died on January 22, 1666, Aurangzeb had his father buried with Mumtaz Mahal in the crypt beneath the Taj Mahal. 2019, The Marg Foundation, 978-9-38324-3-266, $90 hb. The Taj Mahal continues the tradition of Mughal garden tombs, of which Humayun's tomb was the first. She died in childbirth in 1631, after having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. They supervised the mosaic decoration and pietra dura, a type of inlay technique which used highly polished stones to create images. The construction of the fort was started in 1639 and completed in 1648. But recent researches and ongoing debates have mentioned these 2 great architects who designed the Taj Mahal. There are too much controversies for who designed the Taj Mahal and who was the architect of Taj Mahal. Over 60 different types of stones were used, including lapis lazuli, jade, coral, onyx, carnelian, turquoise, crystal and amethyst, and they were pieced together to form opulent floral re… The majestic central dome, which reaches a height of 240 feet (73 metres) at the tip of its finial, is surrounded by four lesser domes. Infoplease knows the value of having sources you can trust. Shah Jahan used "pietra dura", a method of decoration on a large scale-inlaid work of jewels. Architecture of Shah Jahan 20,000 skilled craftsmen from allover the subcontinent and the neighbouring countries worked for 17 years to complete the monument. Beneath the tombs, at garden level, lie the true sarcophagi. Infoplease is a reference and learning site, combining the contents of an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas and several almanacs loaded with facts. Its construction began in 1632, following the death of Mumtaz Mahal, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan… Therein are the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahān. Contemporary portrait of the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58). Learn more about the world with our collection of regional and country maps. Under the direction of Amānat Khan al-ShÄ«rāzÄ«, verses from the Qurʾān were inscribed across numerous sections of the Taj Mahal in calligraphy, central to Islamic artistic tradition. At the four corners of the structure are octagonal towers capped with larger chattris. All rights reserved. Constructed by 20,000 men, it represents the Islamic garden of paradise and is widely regarded as the greatest achievement in Mughal architecture. Taj Mahal is renowned primarily for its unrivaled Mughal structure. Though the style combines Indian, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian elements, this was inspired by particular Mughal and Timurid buildings like the Gur-e Amir or … Two notable decorative features are repeated throughout the complex: pietra dura and Arabic calligraphy. That structure was to have been constructed of black marble, and it was to have been connected by a bridge to the Taj Mahal. Their "proof" is his intense personal interest in this project, plus his self-education and expertise in architecture. To … During his period architecture reached its … Standing gracefully apart from the central building, at each of the four corners of the square plinth, are elegant minarets. The adjunct buildings were finished by 1643, and decoration work continued until at least 1647. White marble was a favoured building material. Built of red Sikri sandstone with marble-necked domes and architraves, they contrast in both colour and texture with the mausoleum’s white marble. Delhi’s most iconic monument, the Red Fort is a stellar representation of Mughal … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Flanking the mausoleum near the northwestern and northeastern edges of the garden, respectively, are two symmetrically identical buildings—the mosque, which faces east, and its jawāb, which faces west and provides aesthetic balance. Agra Fort (Red Fort), also on the right bank of the Yamuna, is about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the Taj Mahal. The architectural design of the Badshahi Mosque, built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb in Lahore, Pakistan, is similar to that of this mosque. The monument is standing in a lush green garden amongst fountains … Red Fort. Progress in improving environmental conditions around the monument has been slow, however. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Symmetry and balance between the parts of a building were always stressed, as was delicate ornamental detail. Coming to Shah Jahan’s daughters, Jahanara was known to have good taste in architecture, and she built several mosques, at Agra and at Delhi, and many sarais as well. Architecture of this Mosque The Jama Masjid has the best mix of marble and limestone. As embodied in the Mughal craft, pietra dura (Italian: “hard stone”) incorporates the inlay of semiprecious stones of various colours, including lapis lazuli, jade, crystal, turquoise, and amethyst, in highly formalized and intertwining geometric and floral designs. Fatehpur Sikri-This was the new capital city made by Akbar and was a new era of Indo-Islamic architecture. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. A tradition relates that Shah Jahān originally intended to build another mausoleum across the river to house his own remains. For the decoration, Shah Jahan is said to have looked to Europe. Moti Masjid, made by Shah Jahan; Diwan-i-aam (hall of public audience) by Shah Jahan; Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) by Shah Jahan; Jahangiri Mahal; Sheesh Mahal (Turkish Bath) Note: Charbagh style-the gardens inside the fort were built according to this style. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Mughal architecture reached its zenith under Shah Jahan. Night viewing was banned there between 1984 and 2004 because it was feared that the monument would be a target of Sikh militants. Updates? But to understand this zenith, we need to understand the basics which made this greatness possible. On three sides of this garden are residential quarters of women. The main arch is flanked by two pairs of smaller arches. 9) How many years were spent by Shah Jahan as prisoner? It was during this era of prosperity in India that Shah Jahan also took up the construction of some of the most monumental buildings the world ever made, including the majestic Taj Mahal. A Closer Glimpse on the Awesome Architecture. Over the centuries the Taj Mahal has been subject to neglect and decay. Not sure about the geography of the middle east? Yes. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Taj Mahal, Agra, India, designated a World Heritage site in 1983. Painting also flourished during Shah Jahan's reign. Akbar period architecture, building style that developed in India under the patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556–1605). The chief architect was Ustaad Ahmed Lahori. To ensure a uniform appearance from the vantage point of the terrace, the lettering increases in size according to its relative height and distance from the viewer. The use of the double dome, the recessed archway inside a rectangular fronton, and parklike surroundings were all favourite devices of Shah Jahān period builders. b) Eight. The main dome of Taj Mahal measures about 110 yards in circumference and is about 107 yards above the ground. The architecture of the Akbar period is characterized by a strength made elegant and graceful by its rich decorative work, which reflects many traditional Hindu elements. 8) Who ended Shah Jahan’s rule and made him a prisoner? Some Hindu nationalist groups have attempted to diminish the importance of the Muslim influence in accounting for the origins and design of the Taj Mahal. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Learn why Mughal emperor Shah Jahān decided to build the Taj Mahal. 10. Khaas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan clearly reflects the essence of later Mughal architecture. Omissions? …elegant buildings, including the dazzling. Need a reference? White marble paneling around the arch is inlaid with black Qurʾānic lettering and floral designs. Resting in the middle of a wide plinth 23 feet (7 metres) high, the mausoleum proper is of white marble that reflects hues according to the intensity of sunlight or moonlight. a) Jama Masjid. However, although he influenced a change in building materials from red sandstone to white marble, there is no evidence that Shah Jehan actually produced true architectural renderings and plans. This is according to the manuscript in the 17th century. It is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture (a blend of Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles). In collaboration with Ali Anooshahr. c) Peacock throne. By Ebba Koch, ed. We've got you covered with our map collection. Ustad Ahmad also known as Isa Khan, an architect in the court of Shah Jahan from Lahore is most often credited as the plan drawer of the Taj Mahal, based on a seventeenth century manuscript that claims that Ustad Ahmad was the architect of both the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort at Delhi. One of the inscriptions in the sandstone gateway is known as Daybreak (89:28–30) and invites the faithful to enter paradise. Aurangzeb and later Mughal architecture. Those false tombs are enclosed by a finely wrought filigree marble screen. The unique feature of this building is the massive white dome at the top. The acoustics inside the main dome cause the single note of a flute to reverberate five times. Though Shah Jahan was an able administrator and commander, he is best known for the construction of the Taj Mahal, which he built in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is situated in the eastern part of the city on the southern (right) bank of the Yamuna (Jumna) River. His most famous building was the Taj Mahal, which he built out of love for his wife, the empress Mumtaz Mahal. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri designed the fort and it was constructed on the banks of Yamuna River whose water filed the moats of the fort. Made completely out of white marble, its beauty lies in the symmetry of its architecture. The Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. It has four nearly identical facades, each with a wide central arch rising to 108 feet (33 metres) at its apex and chamfered (slanted) corners incorporating smaller arches. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum complex that houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”) and her husband, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58). This dome is also called as ‘Onion Dome’ … Enclosed by the walls and structures of the complex, it provides a striking approach to the mausoleum, which can be seen reflected in the garden’s central pools. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? She died in childbirth in 1631, after having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. A restoration and research program for the Taj Mahal was initiated in 1998. The garden is set out along classical Mughal lines—a square quartered by long watercourses (pools)—with walking paths, fountains, and ornamental trees. The southern end of the complex is graced by a wide red sandstone gateway with a recessed central arch two stories high. It is not the white marble or architecture that attracts the world, it’s the purity of Love and heart that make us all remember Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. Built with an Optical Illusion. 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