built for a queen


“In 1632, the mausoleum was built for the queen by the inconsolable Shah Jehan. There is no trace of Hindu influence. Artisans were brought from Baghdad, Constantinople, and other centers of the Muslim faith. It took twenty-two years and twenty-two thousand laborers and craftsmen from India, Asia, and Europe to build the white marble Taj. The building is set in a Persian landscaped garden on the banks of the Yamuna River. The Taj Mahal is exquisitely proportioned, with minarets and a central dome mirrored in a reflecting pool. It features perforated marble grilles, semiprecious stones (including jasper, lapis lazuli, and bloodstone) inlaid in marble, as well as arabesques and chevrons. There is hardly a break between the stones. One flower an inch square can have sixty different inlays. The Taj Mahal reflects the varying moods of night and day: brilliant and dazzling at noon, warm and glowing at dusk, and ethereal in the moonlight. The main entrance was once guarded with heavy silver gates. The stone carving is of alabaster lace, beautiful and sublime with delicate detail.”

India: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories (Hippocrene) by Prem Kishore by Hippocrene Books (Delancey Place)

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