The Taj Mahal in Agra is without a doubt the most celebrated paradigm of Mughal architecture. Described as "a tear on the face of eternity" by Rabindranath Tagore, it is not just a monument but truly a matchless piece of art. The Taj Mahal is famous architectural wonder. Built in 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in reminiscence of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is unparalleled in magnificence and architecture when judged against other monuments built during the Mughal age. In fact it outshines the other wonders in the world as an exceptional piece of architecture. Above all, Taj Mahal has stood the test of time. Perhaps this is why Taj Mahal is India's most famous architectural wonder.
It is inspired by the Persian architecture; Taj is a great amalgamation of Indian and Persian designs. Ustad Isa, an Indian architect of Persian lineage is thought to be the man who turned a dream called Taj into reality.
The first thing that comes to the mind is the dome that stands protected by the four minarets on each of the four sides of the main monument Each minaret is almost 40 meters tall and tapers as we go up. The positioning of these minarets with respect to the main structure, is one of the finest instance of the architectural genius. The minarets are built in such a way that each minaret to some extent is inclined towards the outer side, so as to keep away from any damages in case of earthquake.
The tomb is higher than a modern day 20-storey building was completed with a labor force of 20,000. Artisans from as far as Turkey and Iran got together to give Taj life. The white marble used, was mined at Makrana in Rajasthan. Precious stones were imported from Punjab, Baghdad, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Afghanistan. The Taj Mahal contains 16 chambers, with eight chambers each on the two levels, that enclose the octagonal burial chamber surmounted by a inner dome. The mausoleum that stands on the platform is square in shape. Each of its side is 56.6 m long with a large central arch bordered by two pointed arches. All the corners have small domes while in the centre rises the main double dome which is crowned by a brass finial. The exterior adornment is calligraphy, skillfully carved panels and marvelous inlay work in the form of perfectly symmetrical floral patterns which cover the face of the white marble.
The beauty of the main landscape is heightened by a red sandstone channel placed between strings of cypress trees. The main entry is from the west, but there also exist two other entrances -from the east and from the west. The core gateway is a large three-storey sandstone entity with an octagonal central chamber. The walls are decorated with verses from the Quran.
The patterned gardens are planned with consideration to the classical Mughal 'char bagh' style. Two marble canals studded with fountains, lined with cypress trees stemming from the central, raised pool across the centre of the garden, separating it into four equal squares. The trait to be taken in account here is that the garden is planned in such a way that it maintains perfect symmetry.