Agra, Uttar Pradesh
 
Friday 31 October,2014  
 
 
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  Taj Mahal  
     
 
GENERAL INFORMATION
   Taj Mahal Information
   Taj Mahal Timings
   Taj Mahal by Night
   Best time to visit Taj
   Taj Mahotsav
   Taj Mahal Maps
   Directions to the Taj
   Taj Mahal Photos
TAJ ARCHITECTURE
   Layout of the Taj Mahal
   1. Forecourt & Tajganj
   2. Gateway to the Taj
   3. The Taj Gardens
   4. Taj Mahal Exterior
   - Taj Mahal Minarets
   - Taj Mahal Iwans
   - Taj Mahal Drum
   - Taj Mahal Dome
   - Taj Mahal Finial
   - Taj Mahal Chattris
   - Taj Mahal Guldasta
   5. Taj Mahal Interior
   - The Cenotaphs
   - The Marble Screen
   - Curzon's Brass Lamp
   6. The Mosque at the Taj
   7. Resthouse at the Taj
   Inlay Work at the Taj
   Taj Mahal Carvings
   Taj Mahal Calligraphy
TAJ MAHAL LEGENDS
   Taj built by an Italian?
   Was there a black Taj?
   Taj Mahal Demolition
   Taj Mahal - A Palace?
   Taj Mahal - A Temple?
   Theft in the Taj
   Is the Taj Mahal sinking?
   Is the Taj asymmetric?
   Third set of grave?
   Workers mutiliated?
 
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Taj Mahal Legends- Asymmetrical Taj?

 
 
The Taj Mahal, a graceful architectural structure of India is renowned for its symmetry. From the splendid gardens which follow the Persian “chahar bagh” or the “four garden” layout, to the equidistant minarets that frame the central tomb,  to the uniform chattris which display a similar patterned element of a lotus design, the Taj Mahal truly displays its designer’s penchant for symmetry.

 
  Taj Mahal Garden Layout  
 

"CharBagh" or "Four garden" layout divided into 16 flowerbeds

 
   
 


Considering the above, the placement of Shah Jahan’s cenotaph is bound to raise a few eyebrows. Shah Jahan built the Taj in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal and her cenotaph sits perfectly at the centre of the chamber.  Legend of the asymmetric Taj says that the cenotaph of the emperor Shah Jahan was later added to the monument, so it was squeezed next to the empress’ coffin.  His cenotaph stands to the left of his wife’s and is a little higher than hers too. This is one of the major flaws which catch the eye in the otherwise perfect Taj. Legend says that Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb added this to the Taj, rather than building a separate mausoleum for the emperor to destroy the faultless design of the Taj Mahal.


 
  Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal Cenotaphs  
  Shah Jahan's cenotaph is placed on the left and is higher  
   
 
It is also said that Aurangzeb being a devout Muslim, did not approve of any kind of ostentation especially at the time of death, as the same was denounced in the Holy Book of Quran.  Hence, without bothering about the symmetry of the Taj, he intentionally went on to place his father’s coffin next to his mother.  Another legend says that based on Islamic tradition, a husband’s coffin is placed to the right of his wife, with faces towards Mecca. A stanch believer in religion, Aurangzeb went ahead to position his father’s coffin as dictated in the holy Quran, without being considerate about the symmetry of the Taj Mahal.


 
  Taj Mahal Asymmetry  
  Asymmetrically placed Shah Jahan's cenotaph  
 


The other flaw in the Taj is that one of the Minarets leans a bit, although this possibly happened over centuries and was not an error of construction. It is also believed that in olden times, tall monuments would often fall, so the builders purposely planned this inclination of the minaret, so if a minaret was to ever collapse, the rest of the building would not get affected.


 
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