The Taj Mahal is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most majestic pieces of architecture. Found in the Indian city of Agra, it courts more than a million visitors each year purely for its spectacular visuals. However, it is a mausoleum with more than a few facts about it. How much do you know about the Taj Mahal? Let’s take a look at a few interesting facts about the Taj Mahal which might well inspire you to make your own visit to the East in the near future!
Building the Taj Mahal was not an overnight job. It’s thought to have taken 17 to 20 years to plan, build and put in place. And that, believe it or not, is only thanks to the fact that there were 22,000 experts working on the project!
In fact, it took more than just human hands to put the Taj Mahal together. Elephant power was enlisted, too! Around a thousand pachyderms were put to work helping to move heavy items and building materials around.
What many people may not realise is that the building is intended as a mausoleum. This means that there is an ancient tomb beneath the palace dating back to the 17th Century. Construction is said to have finished around the early 1650s.
The main grave in the Taj Mahal itself belongs to Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Indian Emperor Shah Jahan. Mahal passed away at 39 years old, and Jahan wished to honour her memory with an elaborate mausoleum.
The mausoleum itself is so elaborate that Mahal’s grave is the only part of the building which is not ornately designed or decorated.
The ‘onion dome’ of the Taj Mahal is likely to be the most famous part of the building. It’s huge! It stretches up to around 115 feet in height.
In fact, the full height of the Taj Mahal itself is around 561 feet – it truly is colossal when you see it in person!
However, the Taj Mahal site is more than just the main mausoleum. It’s home to gardens, mosque facilities, outdoor reflection pools and even further graves and tombs.
The name ‘Taj Mahal’ itself actually translates to ‘Crown of Palaces’, though it is clearly named after Mumtaz Mahal, too.
The Taj Mahal is, naturally, a monument that millions of people would go to great lengths to safeguard. During the Second World War, for example, Indian forces worked to create a giant disguise for the building, which was used to protect it from air attacks. The disguise worked perfectly – it just looked like bamboo from the top!
Keeping the Taj Mahal looking pristine takes a lot of work. Not only does it demand a lot of maintenance, transport is prohibited from travelling within 500 metres, or 1640 feet, of the building – the pollution could damage its famous sheen.
There’s a story that Shah Jahan had plans to put a second Taj Mahal into motion, which would be his own mausoleum – a black palace to contrast with Mahal’s white.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about the Taj Mahal that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!