What are some unknown facts about Mughals

Taj Mahal: 8 Exciting Facts

The Taj Mahal was once built by Mughal Mughal Shah Jahan for his late third wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1631 while giving birth to her 14th child and, as a last wish, asked her husband to build the most beautiful of all tombs for her. No sooner said than done: the Mughals just finished his campaign and then returned home to start building the mausoleum in the same year.

1. The black Taj Mahal

According to legend, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is said to have planned to have a mirror-inverted mausoleum of the Taj Mahal built for himself after his death - but entirely from black stone. So far there is no evidence that he was actually able to implement his plan.

Rather, it is said that for the last few years before his death he was imprisoned by his own son after he took power. The window of his room is said to have been across from the Taj Mahal, so that he could look at the mausoleum of his dearest wife every day ... or had to. He was finally buried next to his wife - and his dream of the black Taj Mahal has not come true.

2. Leaning Towers

The four minarets surrounding the Taj Mahal were built at an angle. They lean a little outwards, i.e. not towards the Taj Mahal, so that in the event of an earthquake they do not fall on the mausoleum, but rather in the other direction.

3. Donald Trump's Taj Mahal

It was clear: Even Donald Trump insisted on building a "Trump Taj Mahal". Not as a mausoleum, but as a casino in the gambling stronghold on the US west coast: Atlantic City. Outwardly, the Trump building only roughly resembles the Indian Taj Mahal.

The many onion domes and all kinds of Indian kitsch are particularly striking here. Trump himself has hardly had anything to do with the casino business since 2009 - only his name is still emblazoned above the entrance. The ruble has also stopped rolling here since September 2016 because the casino went bankrupt, 3,000 people lost their jobs and the building has been vacant since then.

Continue reading after the ad

4. (Almost) everything is symmetrical

Probably the only asymmetry you will find in the Taj Mahal are the unevenly large coffins of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Whose coffin is bigger? Well ... Even if the Taj Mahal was built for the Mughal's wife, her husband still received the larger coffin.

Continue reading after the ad

display

But apart from this inaccuracy, pretty much every line and curve has been designed symmetrically - from the numerous turrets to the gardens and water systems.

5. The mausoleum is yellowing

If you want to experience the Taj Mahal in its gleaming white beauty, you'd better be quick. Because the white stones turn yellow more and more. The reason is too high a level of fine dust pollution in the air, which is caused by the exhaust gases from the cars in the nearby city of Agra and by the incineration of garbage.

Measures are planned to restore the stones to their original condition. A “mud cure” will soon remove the dome from the dust particles on the stones. But air pollution must also be reduced in order to limit repeated yellowing in the future.

6. Not the only mausoleum

The Taj Mahal is not the only huge mausoleum that attracts tourists with its impressive architecture. In the west of India there is still the Mahabat Maqbara, which does not shine as nobly as the Taj Mahal and is also not surrounded by specially designed gardens - but the many small turrets are extremely filigree.

Much closer to the Taj Mahal is the Humayun Mausoleum, which you can find in southeast New Delhi. It is almost 100 years older than the Taj Mahal and also attracts tourists because of the gardens surrounding the magnificent building. This resting place originally stood on the Yamuna River, on which the Taj Mahal is also located.

Continue reading after the ad

7. Taj Mahal in sunrise

Probably the most beautiful pictures of the Taj Mahal are taken in the early hours of the morning. The ticket counters at the east and west entrances even open at six o'clock. At this point in time, there are even fewer visitors on site than later in the day.

Or you can get up just as early and start your sightseeing tour with a boat trip on the Yamuna River, which borders the Taj Mahal. If it is not too cloudy and maybe there is still some fog over the river, the mausoleum is reflected in the river. Et voilá - the perfect photo motif.

8. Celebrities in front of the Taj Mahal

The shimmering white mausoleum with its elegantly decorated turrets and the imposing, radiant dome in the middle of the building - photographed against a blue sky, the accurate water and green areas in the foreground. This is clearly the perfect Taj Mahal photo.

This perspective is not only beautiful today, it was also the favorite photo motif of visitors to the mausoleum in the 1960s. This also applies to two of the icons of the time: Beatles member George Harrison and First Lady Jackie Kennedy both visited the Taj Mahal - and took photos.

John F. Kennedy's wife was visiting in 1962. She was in the country for ten days for a friendship visit and also visited the Taj Mahal. The Beatles guitarist George Harrison, however, moved to India for musical and spiritual reasons.

In 1966 he went to the sitar master Ravi Shankar for six weeks. The influences of Indian music can still be felt today in some Beatles songs, such as in "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". During his stay some fisheye selfies were taken - including one from the Taj Mahal.