The city of Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire, is home to one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Taj Mahal, which has become the emblem of India. With no less than 10,000 visits a day, this monument seems to enjoy unparalleled prestige in India, probably due to the romantic myth that surrounds it.
The present city of Agra was founded in 1501-1504 by Sikandar Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi, who made it his capital. When Babur, the first Mughal emperor removed the Sultan of Delhi, he seized Agra in 1526. His grandson Akbar restored his status as capital in 1556.
From the mid-16th to the mid-17th century, the city reached its peak under the successive reigns of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan. It is the latter who built the Taj Mahal in 1631 before transferring in 1658, the capital of the empire in Delhi.
In addition to the famous Taj Mahal, the Mughal emperors have left behind a rich architectural heritage that attracts a considerable flow of tourists every year.
Best time to visit Agra between October to March you can reach by car or train 3-hour drive from Delhi. Want experience luxury plan your tour with the palace on wheels train. You can read here complete information.
Located on the banks of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal, the ‘Palace of the Crown’ in Persian, is a white marble mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory, it is said, of his wife Arjumand Banu Begam, also known as Mumtaz Mahal.
She died in 1631. The construction of the mausoleum began that same year and would have been completed for the most part in 1643. Shah Jahan died in 1666 and was buried with her.
As a world heritage site, the Taj Mahal is considered a jewel of Mughal architecture, a style that combines Iranian, Ottoman and Indian architectural elements.
Mosque on the side of Taj Mahal
Two red sandstone buildings, with three white marble domes, symmetrically border the mausoleum: on the left a mosque that was built to sanctify the place and provide a place of worship for pilgrims; on the right an exact symmetrical replica of the mosque, known as the jawab (answer), is intended to maintain architectural symmetry but is not used as a mosque because it is not oriented towards Mecca.
Several statements come to disassemble the romantic myth of Taj Mahal.
The complex would be, rather than a mausoleum for a favorite wife, a demonstration of power. These theories are based in particular on the personality of Emperor Shah Jahan who was far from sentimental.
The Taj, which took twenty-two years to complete, was built by twenty-two thousand workers treated as slaves. Shah Jahan would have had in his lifetime no less than 2,000 wives imprisoned in a harem besides Arjumand Banu Begam; the favorite who is buried in the Taj Mahal has died from excessive pregnancies. Did you say romantic?
Other themes such as the one developed by Purushottam Nagesh Oak claim that the Taj Mahal was not always the mausoleum that we know, but that it was, before being transformed by the emperor, a palace and a palace. The vedic temple dedicated to Shiva, the Tejomahalay. This hypothesis has not received approval from the scientific community.