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"Taj Mahal" The Taj Mahal Tip by FruitLover

The Taj Mahal, Agra: 255 reviews and 620 photos

The tomb is a successful synthesis of many design elements. Like most Mughal tombs, its basic elements are Persian in origin. The building is a large, domed, multi-chambered structure constructed of white marble. The building is highly decorated with pietra dura artwork that includes geometric patterns, plants and flowers.

The floorplan is essentially a square with chamfered corners. The tomb's main chamber is a cenotaph (the actual graves are a level below) surmounted by a double dome (i.e., one having both inner and outer layers) generally referred to as an onion dome because of its bulbous form. The Taj Mahal's design is also said to have been based on that of a rose. The rose was Shah Jahan's wife's favorite flower.

Around the central chamber are eight additional bays (four large, four small), which open into the main chamber through arched alcoves. Four smaller domes (Kiosks or chattris) over these surrounding bays articulate the main dome. The entrance archways are adorned with stylised calligraphy of verses from the Qu'ran.

The Taj Mahal stands on a raised white marble plinth or terrace with four minarets at each corner framing the tomb. The minarets slant outwards so that in the event of an earthquake they will fall away from the tomb.

Hindu-influenced design elements — especially sun and lotus flower motifs — appear throughout: the main dome is an upside down lotus flower, as well as the pillars. In the ceiling of the dome there is a drawing of the sun.


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  • Updated Dec 8, 2005
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