The Taj Mahal reigns supreme as one of the most recognizable and iconic images of India. Its delicate minarets, gracefully curved archways and ice cream scoop domes have led many to make the pilgrimage to stand at its entrance and wonder at its grandeur. The wonder isn’t only found in its construction. Here stands a building that is as rich in history as it is in opulent marble. To help better appreciate this history, we have compiled a list of the 10 most interesting facts about Taj Mahal.
1. It is estimated to have taken more than 22,000 people to build this impressive building including laborers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists, and many others.
2. According to legend it is believed that Emperor Shah Jahan had planned to construct another Taj Mahal in black marble on the other side of the river but the war with his sons interrupted his plans.
3. The Taj Mahal takes on different coloring at different times of the day, from a pinkish hue in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night when lit by the moon. They say the changing color resembles the changing mood of females – in particular the Emperor’s queen.
4. For the transportation of the construction materials, more than 1,000 elephants were employed.
5. As many as 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were used to adorn the Taj with exquisite inlay work.
6. The only part of the mausoleum that is not ornately decorated is the actual graves of the Emperor and his queen. Islamic tradition forbids the decoration of graves, so Shah Jahan and his wife are actually buried in a plain crypt beneath the main inner chamber of the Taj Mahal.
7. Passages from Quran have been used as decorative elements throughout the complex.
8. The four sides of the Taj Mahal are perfectly identical creating an astonishingly mirrored image on each side. The grave site is the only part that is not perfectly symmetrical.
9. Construction of the Taj Mahal cost an estimated 32 million Indian rupees (the equivalent of over US $1 billion at the moment).
10. The four minarets (towers) surrounding the Taj Mahal were constructed farther away from the main structure than usual. The minarets also lean slightly outward rather than stand straight. This was done as a safety measure so that if any of them fell, they would fall away from the tomb rather than crash into the central structure.