We all have learned about Taj Mahal and things associated with it like when, who and for whom it was built, in our school life. Being one of the recognizable monuments in the world, it holds one of the most powerful and famous testimonies of love. But did you know there are still some facts about Taj Mahal that are unheard or lesser discussed? The history of the Taj Mahal is indeed much more fascinating than what we all have been hearing and reading for years. I just couldn’t stop myself from sharing the most interesting and unknown facts that I have come across a few days ago with you. Trust me, learning about these lesser known yet interesting facts will give you plenty of reasons to plan your trip to Taj Mahal right away! So without making you wait, let’s get started.
It was a time period of 1632-1653 when Taj Mahal was built. Shah Jahan spent nearly 32 million rupees on the construction of what we now recognize as the epitome of love. Wondering what would be the value of money at present? Well, today the amount would be close to $1 Billion.
About 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were used for adorning the Taj and they were sourced from Tibet, China, Sri Lanka and some parts of India.
Materials from all over India and Asia were used in the construction of Taj Mahal. It is said that over 1,000 elephants were used for transporting the construction material.
If observed carefully, the four pillars or minarets are tilted outwards rather than standing straight. The reason why it was constructed in such a way was to protect the main tomb (gumbad) from being damaged with the falling of minarets on it in case of any natural calamity like an earthquake.
The story of arms of artisans being cut-off to make sure that no such monument was ever built again is a hoax as the same man- Ustad Ahmad Lahauri (a Persian from Iran) who was the supervisor of the architect team, laid the foundation of Red Fort too.
The foundation of Taj Mahal would have collapsed if it wasn’t on the Yamuna Bank. Yes, Taj’s foundation is made of timber which is not supposed to be long-lasting. So you can picturise well that the wood must have weaken over the period of time but it is because of the Yamuna River that the wood is kept strong and moist till date.
The architecture of the Taj Mahal truly expands and depicts the early Mughal designs which is a combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic design tradition.
The calligraphy done over the walls of Taj Mahal are mostly taken from the holy book- Quran Sharif. Apart from the walls of Taj Mahal, the verses are inscribed on the Tomb of Queen Mumtaz Mahal and Emperor Shah Jahan.
The marble stones used in the construction were bought from different regions and countries. Out of which the translucent white marble was bought from Makrana, a well-known place for marbles in Rajasthan; Jade & Crystal was imported from China, the Jasper from Punjab, Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, Carnelia from Arabia and Turquoise from Tibet.
The Taj Mahal is taller than Qutub Minar (with a difference of five feet).
Early accounts of the Taj Mahal’s original garden includes abundant daffodils, roses and fruit trees. It was then by the end of the 19th Century the British empire took the control over three fifth of India and they changed the landscaping according to their liking which resembled the lawns of London.
Did you know Agra was not supposed to be the actual site for Taj Mahal? Yes, you read it right. Earlier, Taj Mahal was to be built in Burhanpur (Madhya Pradesh) where Mumtaz died during the childbirth. But unfortunately, Burhanpur couldn’t supply enough white marble and so the final decision was taken to build the Taj Mahal in Agra which has now become a popular domestic tourist attraction in Agra.
Lord Curzon’s name is inscribed on a lamp inside the Taj Mahal. The beautiful lamp weighing around 60 kgs is made of copper and is placed under one of the royal gates where the visitors get the first glimpse of the Taj.
The tomb contains 99 different names of Allah as calligraphic inscriptions.
Shah Jahan’s other wives and favourite servants are buried in the mausoleums (outside the Taj Mahal but in the same complex).
As per the Islamic tradition, graves aren’t supposed to be decorated. Perhaps this the reason why Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz were buried in a plain crypt beneath the inner chamber of Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal which is one of the most visited and beautiful monuments in India, has over 4-8 million visitors annually. Sometimes there are over 40-50 thousand visitors on one single day to capture the iconic sight of this magnificent building.
The Taj changes its colour depending on the amount of light and time. In the sense, the Taj would appear to be pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden in the moonlight. If you have ever visited the Taj Mahal, then you probably must have noticed it. If not then do notice the next time when you plan to go.
The UNESCO World Heritage classified the Taj as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ in the year 2007, with over 100 million votes.
The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays for prayers since it has an active working mosque in its premises. So, do not plan your trip to Taj Mahal on fridays.
A well-known fact is, it took 22 long years to build the Taj Mahal (from the year 1632-53). Although work did not complete completely as small refinements continued even after that.
During the Sepoy Rebellion (Mutiny) of 1857, it is believed that some British soldiers, laid their hands on the precious and semi-precious stones from the walls of the tomb.
Over 20,000 labourers were employed to contribute in the massive project of building this symbol of love.
Over the period of time, the white marble of Taj seemed to be turning yellow due to the air pollution. So, only electric vehicles are allowed near the surrounding area in order to conserve the cultural heritage of India. Tourists/visitors have to take a walk from the parking area to the Taj Mahal. Also, it is forbidden for an aircraft to fly over the Taj Mahal (so it’s a no-fly zone).
The Taj was concealed by the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) during World War-II. It was covered with a huge scaffold which made it to appear like stockpile of bamboo. Later once again it took place during the Indo-Pak War in 1971.
You can see the Taj Mahal from the Jasmine Tower of Agra Fort (also known as Musamman Burj- where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb).
So these were some of the facts that make the Taj Mahal one of the magnificent monuments in India.
The nearest airport is the Kheria Airport (military base) which is 9.4 kms from the Agra City. Once you get down at the airport you need to hire a taxi to get into the city which would take 20-30 minutes depending on the traffic. There are buses (from Delhi, Jaipur, Kanpur and Lucknow) and trains are well-connected with Agra (having 5 railway stations and Agra Cantt station being the main).
If you have plans to go by enjoying the road trip then, Agra is well-connected with Delhi by NH2 and Yamuna Expressway. It would hardly take 4-5 hrs depending on the traffic and time of the day. Also, if you plan to drive from Jaipur, you need to take the NH11 route which would again take 4-5 hrs. Similarly, Gwalior is connected by NH3 which 2-2.5 hrs drive is nearly, Lucknow (4 hrs drive) and Kanpur (4.5 hrs) are connected by NH2.
The entry is open from sunrise to sunset (6:00 A.M to 7:00 P.M). For Indian tourists, the ticket is INR 40 and for international tourists the ticket is for INR 1000. There is no limitation of time for the stay. You are free to stay inside the complex within the normal operating hours.
Being one of the most favoured destinations for international & domestic travellers, there are many attractions in Agra which you shouldn’t miss out visiting. Agra Fort and Sikandra Fort are in the closest proximity and showcase beautiful architecture. Other than this the tourist places to visit near Taj Mahal are the perfect amalgamation of spiritual places and wildlife sanctuaries. Some of these include Banke Bihari Mandir & ISKCON Temple (Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh), Govardhan Hill and Dwarkadhish Temple (Mathura, Uttar Pradesh), Bharatpur National Park & Lohagarh Fort (Bharatpur, Rajasthan) and many other travel destinations.
Also, if you are planning for solo and an inexpensive tour option, Tourism of Uttar Pradesh runs a full-day sightseeing bus tours to the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri and other attractions on a daily basis. The cost is INR 400-650 for Indians and INR 1,200- 3,000 for international Tourists. Price includes transport, monument entry tickets, and travel guide fees.
What’s better than enjoying a luxurious stay with the comfort of jacuzzi where you can get the clear and breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal? Yes, you can choose to stay at the Double Tree at Hilton Hotel Agra, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, Crystal Sarovar Premiere and The Oberoi Amarvilas. For budget travellers on the other hand, there are plenty of accommodation options, however, you might have to miss out on the view of the Taj from hotel room’s window.
Without a doubt, there are only few people who have not heard of the Taj Mahal or its grandeur. However, the more you explore, the more you fall in love with its beauty. So have you heard of any such fact that I haven’t cover here? Let me know in the comment section below! Apart from it, if you have any queries related to other Indian heritage tourist attractions or Agra holiday packages, then feel free to reach us at Tour My India. Call us at +91-9212777225 or you can even drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.