India’s jewel, the Taj Mahal, is an icon of the country and a monument that appears on many people’s bucket lists. Combining architectural styles from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman, and Indian cultures, the monument is as symbolic and meaningful as it is aesthetically beautiful.
Originally built to honor one Mughal Emperor’s adoration for his wife, the Taj Mahal is a stunning representation of love. There are also several intriguing facts about the structure that few people know about. Keep reading to find out what they are!
10 It Is Thought To Be The Most Romantic Gesture In History
The Taj Mahal is associated with all things love and is often thought to be the most romantic gesture in world history. The monument was built to honor the wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz, who died in childbirth. As Swedish Nomad points out, the Shah actually had a number of wives who are also buried in the same complex, but he loved Mumtaz the most.
Lovers often come to take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal, which was built out of one man’s love. That’s why it caused such a stir when Princess Diana posed for a photo in front of the monument without then-husband Prince Charles.
9 Measures Were Taken To Ensure No Damage Came To The Tomb
It would have been a disaster if the Taj Mahal had been destroyed by any of the four towers surrounding it. Trip Savvy explains that the Shah had the complex designed so that, in the event of a collapse, no damage would come to the tomb of his beloved.
The four minarets that border the structure are situated a fair distance from the actual building, and they also lean outward rather than standing straight. This way, if anything causes the towers to crumble, they will fall away from the tomb and not on top of it.
8 There Is Symbolism Behind The Monument’s Changing Colors
A comparison of photos of the Taj Mahal illustrated how the overall shade of the complex seems to change colors with the position of the sun. Uniglobe Carefree Travel reveals that the monument is pinkish in the early hours of the day but turns white as the sun moves across the sky. Finally, it takes a golden hue in the moonlight. No matter the time of day, the monument is a truly magnificent sight.
It is said that these changing colors resemble the changing moods of the Shah’s wife, Mumtaz.
7 It Is Nearly Perfectly Symmetrical
What makes the Taj Mahal so stunning is that the entire complex is nearly perfectly symmetrical. According to Mental Floss, the only part of the structure that isn’t symmetrical is the tomb of the Shah, which was added to the crypt in 1666 following his death.
The Shah’s grave sits to the west of the center of the tomb, which throws the balance off. Mumtaz’s casket, on the other hand, is located right in the heart of the crypt and was originally positioned with the overall aesthetic of the building in mind.
6 There’s A Dark Rumor Surrounding The Taj Mahal
One of the most interesting (and darkest) rumors concerning the Taj Mahal regards what happened to the workers after they’d finished constructing the complex. According to legend, the Shah was so adamant that no other building ever be as beautiful as his tomb that he had the hands of all the laborers chopped off so they could never work their magic anywhere else.
Historians debate this rumor and believe it is much more likely that the Shah had the workers sign a contract stating they would not complete any similar work again.
5 The Shah Was Later Forbidden From Entering His Taj Mahal
The Shah had the Taj Mahal built as an opulent final resting place for his love, but in a twist of events, he was forbidden from visiting her tomb toward the end of his life. Nine years before his death, the Shah’s two sons with Mumtaz began fighting over who would succeed him.
He sided with one son, but the other one ended up killing his brother and then imprisoning his father to prevent him from jeopardizing his ascension to the throne. So in the last years of the Shah’s life, he was only allowed to watch the Taj Mahal from afar.
4 It Was Predicted That The Structure Would Collapse By 2016
When the Taj Mahal began showing signs of decay in the 20thcentury, some experts speculated that by the year 2016, the entire structure would collapse. Despite this, the Architectural Survey of India maintained that the prediction was incorrect. Hindsight has proven that they were right. As we all know, the Taj Mahal is still standing well into 2019.
Between the 1980s and 2010s, one of the towers surrounding the tomb underwent a shift of one and a half inches, leading to such projections about the future.
3 The Walls Are Lined With Calligraphy
Although the Taj Mahal is situated in a Hindu country, the building itself is an Islamic structure. It is not always obvious from photos, but the walls of the Taj Mahal are lined with beautiful calligraphy taken straight from the Quran.
These lines of Muslim scripture were transcribed by a calligrapher called Amanat Khan Shirazi, who signed his name with a very humble message at the base of the interior dome: “Written by the insignificant being, Amanat Khan Shirazi.” At the time, it was rare for calligraphers to receive any credit at all.
2 Now The Biggest Threat To The Building Is Pollution
The biggest threat facing the Taj Mahal in today’s era is pollution. Agra and the rest of India suffer from a pollution problem, which is transforming the white marble façade of the structure into a yellow color. To combat this, only electric vehicles are allowed near the Taj Mahal.
Visitors will find that if they don’t want to take electric buses from the parking area, then they have to walk to the structure. According to Trip Savvy, a 4000-square-mile radius has been declared around the Taj Mahal in an effort to control emissions.
1 In Times Of War, The Taj Mahal Is Hidden
There have been other threats to the Taj Mahal over the years, especially during times of war and conflict. To prevent their most iconic landmark from coming to any harm, the Indian government has taken several measures to ensure that the Taj Mahal is protected during these times.
During the Second World War, and also during the periods of hostility between India and Pakistan in the 20th century, the Taj Mahal was concealed. Because of this, pilots above would see a pile of bamboo instead of the structure, which was covered with extensive scaffolding.