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INFORMATION

The Taj Mahal nicknamed "the taj" is a monument located in Agra, India and is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture (combination of Indian, Persian and Turkish). The construction of Taj Mahal was from AD 1631 until 1654 AD. 20 000workmen were said to be employed on it daily. A small town, Taj Ganj, was built adjacent to the palace for there accommodation. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, who is better known as Mumtaz Mahal. The origin of the name "Taj Mahal" is not clear. Court histories from Shah Jehan's reign only call it the rauza (tomb) of Mumtaz Mahal. It is generally believed that "Taj Mahal" ("Crown of the Palace") is an abbreviated version of her name, Mumtaz Mahal. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri designed the Taj Mahal and material was brought in from all over India and central Asia with a fleet of 1000 elephant. The central dome is 187 feet high at the centre. Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal. The chief building material, the white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in distt. Nagaur, Rajasthan. While the white domed marble mausoleum seen above is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is actually a complex of elements. The complex is set in and around a large charbagh (a formal Mughal garden divided into four parts) with each of the four quarters of the garden is divided into 16 flowerbeds by raised pathways. Measuring 320 m × 300 m, the garden has sunken parterres or flowerbeds, raised pathways, avenues of trees, fountains, water courses, and pools that reflect the Taj Mahal. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and the gateway, reflects the Taj Mahal. The complex is bounded by a red sandstone wall on three sides. The river-facing side is unwalled. Outside the wall are several additional mausoleums, including those of many of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant.

http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/taj_mahal/tlevel_2/t3build_design.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_Mahal