Students of schools and colleges generally go on excursions every year. They select places of historical and scientific interest to visit. Those going to Delhi will not miss to visit Agra and see the Taj Mahal. At Agra besides the Taj Mahal they can also seen the Agra Fort and Fathepuri Sikri which was for some time the capital of Moghul Emperor, Shahjahan.
Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. It has both historical as well as cultural value. It is built on the banks of the river Jamuna. Taj Mahal was built by the Moghul Emperor Shahjahan as a mausoleum of his beloved wife Arjmand Begum popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1630 A.D.
Taj Mahal is an architectural beauty which is beyond description. It is a work of Indian architects – both Muslims and Hindus. The mausoleum with its allied gardens and the building complex measures 1400 feet x 1000 feet and is in the form of a rectangle. It is enclosed by a high wall surmounted by four arcaded marble pavilions at each one of the four corners. As one enters he is flanked by arched apartments and red stone building structures. The main gate is a red stone structure of very great architectural value. Its facade contains beautiful calligraphic descriptions in Arabic. After one passes the main gate one enters the well-laid out garden with marble pathways, water course and fountains. Before the visitor, stands the beautiful marble mausoleum.
The principal mausoleum stands again on a rectangular platform built in marble with a plinth area of 22 square feet. The mausoleum proper is square in shape. The main dome which rises to a height of 108 feet from the base platform is of pure white marble. On each of the four domes of the platform there is a minaret covered by “Kiosk”. The central dome towers all these cupolas. It is said that it took 22 years to complete the whole structure and that it cost then three crores of rupees. The construction of this central dome itself is said to have taken 12 years. Besides white marble about twenty varieties of precious stones are said to have been used in the decoration and inlay work of the Taj Mahal.
Some claim that Europeans were involved in building it. But this is now rejected and historians confirm that Taj Mahal was built completely by Indians. The chief designer is said to be Ustad Ahmad Lahori. Maktrramat Khan and Mir Abdul Quasim are stated to be its architects. Ismail Khan Rumi is the maker of the central dome. Both Muslim and Hindus had contributed their best in building this beautiful monument.
Shahjahan was a builder par-excellence. He had inherent zest for beautiful architecture. His regime was the golden period for architecture. He was responsible for building the Red Fort at Delhi, with its beautiful. Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas. The Moti Masjid at Agra and the Jama Masjid, a beautiful red stone structure at Delhi are his contributions. Taj Mahal is the best of the monuments, man has ever built. Though built as a mausoleum for the beautiful queen, Taj Mahal stands and speaks unquestionably the glory and taste of Shahjahan and his inordinate love for his wife. In the interior, in the middle of the structure, right below the massive dome lie the mortal remains of the queen, Mumtaz, in a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
The Taj Mahal on a full-moon night, looks like pure white pearl, a sight that cannot be seen elsewhere in the world. The Taj is a thing of beauty and a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
When the President of U.S.A. Bill Clinton visited the Taj Mahal in March 2000, he was bowled by its beauty. Before visiting the Taj Mahal, he said there are two types of people in the world – those who saw Taj Mahal and those who didn’t. It is reckoned as one of the seven wonders of the world.