ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS

ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS OF INDIA

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal a marvel on marble was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in commemoration of his favourite wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan married Arjumand Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mahal), grand daughter of Itimad-Ud-Daula, the Wazir (Prime Minister)  of Emperor Jahangir in 1612 AD. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 A.D. at the birth of her 14th child. The grief stricken emperor made all efforts in building the tomb in her memory, which is universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful creations on earth. Artisans were requisitioned from all over the empire including Central Asia and Iran. While bricks for the internal framework were locally made. White marble for external surfaces was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan. The inscription on the northern facade records 1057A.H. (1647A.D.) as the date of its completion in 17 years .It is believed that Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the chief of the project while Ustad Isa Afandi prepared the site plan of the Taj Mahal. Amanat Ali Khan Shirazi is known for his calligraphic work and Ran Mal was the garden designer from Kashmir. The plan of Taj Mahal display strict bilateral symmetry. The central point is the tomb (rauza) and its four minarets, flanked by a mosque and assembly hall (Mehman Khana) The Taj is exactly as wide as it is high (55mtrs). A highlight of the monument is the exquisitely carved pietra dura inlaid with semi precious stones.The colour of the translucent marble keeps changing from dawn to midnight giving it a magical aura in keeping with Shah Jahan’s vision that the tomb and garden should represent paradise on earth. It is a unique man made manifestation of the glorious Mughal age and a wonder of the world.After his death in 1666 A.D., Shah Jahan was also buried beside his beloved wife in the Taj Mahal.

Red Fort

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.This palace fortress is known as the Red Fort because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls. The fort with its halls, palaces, pavilions and serene gardens was completed in 1648. Within the enclosure of the red fort are located many fairytale buildings. The Diwan-i-Khas (also known as Shah Mahal) and the Rang Mahal (also called Imtiyaz Mahal or palace of distinctions) are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort. The Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i- Aam) is another famous building within the Red Fort. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening.

Madurai

The oldest city existing in the Indian peninsula and one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world, Madurai is richly steeped in cultural heritage. It is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a ‘city that never sleeps’. The city, earlier known as Madhurapuri, grew around a huge temple built by Pandian King Kulasekhara 2,500 years ago. Madurai became famous during the Sangam period through the third and last conglomeration of Tamil scholars, which existed for more than 100 years. Historically it is also called as the Athens of the East. Megasthanes visited Madurai as early as 3rd BC. Later Romans and Greeks started visiting this erstwhile Pandya Kingdom and there were serious trade connections between them that flourished till the 10th century. The city was the magnificent capital of Pandya kings and visited by travellers such as Pliny (77 AD), Ptolemy (140 AD), Marco Polo (1203 AD) and IbuBatuta (1333 AD). Today, Madurai is synonymous with the awe-inspiring Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple.The oldest city existing in the Indian peninsula and one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world, Madurai is richly steeped in cultural heritage. It is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a ‘city that never sleeps’. The city, earlier known as Madhurapuri, grew around a huge temple built by Pandian King Kulasekhara 2,500 years ago. Madurai became famous during the Sangam period through the third and last conglomeration of Tamil scholars, which existed for more than 100 years. Historically it is also called as the Athens of the East. Megasthanes visited Madurai as early as 3rd BC. Later Romans and Greeks started visiting this erstwhile Pandya Kingdom and there were serious trade connections between them that flourished till the 10th century. The city was the magnificent capital of Pandya kings and visited by travellers such as Pliny (77 AD), Ptolemy (140 AD), Marco Polo (1203 AD) and IbuBatuta (1333 AD). Today, Madurai is synonymous with the awe-inspiring Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple.