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Architect of Taj Mahal

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The crypt of the Taj Mahal at Agra stands in a properly laid-out walled garden entered through an exhibition area. The architectural compound includes five main elements: the Darwaza or main gateway, the Bageecha or garden, the Masjid or mosque, the Naqqar Khana or rest house, and the Rauza or the Taj Mahal tomb. The authentic Tomb is located inside the Taj.

The exclusive Mughal approach combines essentials of Persian, Central Asian, and Islamic architecture. The mosques, built only to give stability the work are set sufficiently far away to do no more than frame the mausoleum. In spirit, the whole riverside platform is a mosque courtyard with a tomb at its heart. The enormous entrance gate with its domed central chamber, placed at the end of the long watercourse, would in any other setting be a monument in its own right.

The Taj placed on a raised, square stage (186 x 186 feet) with its four curves truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural plan uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each constituent stands on its own and absolutely integrates with the main construction. It applies the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural fundamentals. The four elegant and slim 162.5 feet minarets, set symmetrically about the tomb, are scaled down to intensify the effect of the dominant, slightly bulbous dome. Its middle dome is 58 feet in width and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is edged by four supplementary domed chambers.

The crypts of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal are in fact situated in a indistinct burial crypt. On top of them, in the main chamber are false tombs, a universal practice in mausoleums built during the Mughal period. Light is admitting into the central chamber by finely cut marble screens. The ricochet in this high-domed chamber is worth hearing, and there is always somebody there to show it.

Satirically, the ideal symmetry of Taj is disrupted by the tomb of the man who built it. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his son Aurangzeb, positioned his casket next to that of Mumtaz Mahal.