Monday, May 13, 2013

Take A Look Inside: The Taj Mahal

A Testament of Love: The Taj Mahal

For homework last week in my Art History class we had to read and take notes on Islamic art. One of the fascinating stories I read was about the Taj Mahal. I'd seen and heard about it before in a previous class but what I read was simply amazing.
So in 1631, the emperor during the Mughal empire of India was devastated when his wife took a turn for the worse after the death of their 14th child. According to history, her famous last words were to build her a mausoleum more beautiful than any the world had ever seen before and her husband did just that...
The Taj Mahal, which means "Crown of Palaces" is was finished in 1648 in Agra, India. Made entirely of marble, the structure was built massively at 560 feet high. The architecture of the Taj Mahal is built with harmony, balance, and geometry. Beautifully symmetrical, each element of the Taj Mahal is independent, yet perfectly integrated with the structure as a whole. You can see a little Gothic influence with the pointed arches and the onion shaped dome, which was a new artistic element to this time.
After the emperor died, he was placed forever in spirit next to his wife. In plan view, you can see how big the entire park is. The Great Gate is at the bottom of the plan, the the Taj Gardens in the middle, with the actual mausoleum at the top. The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads "O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you."

Today, the Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is open to the public to tour. If you're like me, broke, it's not that easy to just hop in a plane and go to India. Instead, you can Take the Virtual Tour of the Taj Mahal! from this really awesome website. It goes in depth of every inch of this beautiful masterpiece. The Taj Mahal has definitely been added to my bucketlist!


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