Photographer's Note

The Tāj Mahal (Hindi: ताज महल; Persian/Urdu: تاج محل) is a monument located in Agra, India, at 27° 10'28.67"N, 78° 2'32.05"E, constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 22,000. The Mughal Emperor Shāh Jahān commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, who is better known as Mumtāz. The Taj Mahal (sometimes called "the Taj") is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Indian and Islamic. The Taj Mahal has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures.
The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on many design traditions, particularly Hindu, Ottoman, Persian and earlier Mughal architecture.

The overall design derived inspiration from a number of successful Timurid and Mughal buildings. These include the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand),[4] Humayun's Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and his own Jama Masjid. Under Shah Jahan's patronage, Mughal building reached new levels of refinement; while previous Mughal building had primarily been constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Hindu craftsmen, particularly sculptors and stonecutters, plied trade throughout Asia during this period, and their work was particularly prized by tomb builders. Whilst the rock-cut architecture which characterises much of this construction had little influence on the Taj Mahal (carvings are only one form of the decorative element), other Indian buildings such as the Man Singh palace in Gwalior were an inspiration for much Mughal palace architecture and the source for the chhatris which can be seen on the Taj Mahal.

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Additional Photos by pankaj bajpai (pankajbajpai) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 87 W: 3 N: 84] (376)
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