Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra that was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a fine example of Mughal architecture at its best, a style that is an outcome of Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.
On the south side is the forecourt with the main gate in front and tombs of Akbardari Begum and Fatehpuri Begum - two other queens of Shah Jahan, on its south east and south west corners. Charbagh Garden divided into four quarters by broad shallow canals is laid out next.
The main tomb is placed on the northern edge of the garden to tower majestically on the river providing it a beautiful natural background. The overall height of the structure is 285 feet from the river level. The tomb stands on a square plinth of 55m size. Tapering minarets stand detached from the main tomb on the corners and are three storeys high each storey separated by a balcony. The top of minarets are crowned by a chhatri that mirror the design of the tomb. The base is a large structure with four symmetrical facades each with a central iwan which is two storeys high. The main dome is 35 meters high and sits on a 7m high cylindrical drum. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements.
The Taj Mosque and Jamat Khana:
The mosque is built on a raised platform on the western side of the main white marble tomb and its exact replica can be found on the eastern side. The facade of the mosque is composed of a central iwan flanked on either side by a single arch entrance. Ornamental arches have been placed above these side arches and octagonal towers attached to the corners are surmounted by octagonal chhatris. The interior is composed of three bays each roofed by three domes, the middle one being the biggest of the three. The roof and walls have been decorated with murals or have been finished with incised painting in red and white colors.
The Jamat-Khanah on the eastern side is an exact replica of the mosque except that it does not have a mihrab (a niche or chamber in a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca).
1. Taj Mahal at Night - Night viewing of Taj Mahal has been allowed for five nights in a month including the Full Moon night and two days before and two days after except Fridays and the month of Ramzan. It is open from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 in eight batches of 50 people for thirty minutes. Visitors have to report at Shilpagram complex half an hour in advance of the viewing time. The entry is allowed from the Eastern Gate of the Taj Mahal only after a security check. No video camera is allowed inside the monument during night viewing. The night viewing tickets can be purchased from 10:00AM to 6:00PM one day in advance.
Rate of Night Viewing Ticket: Indian (Adult) Rs510; Foreigner (Adult)- Rs750 and Children ( 3Yrs to 15 Years age) Rs500.