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Making of Taj Mahal

Introduction
Taj Mahal Construction Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. Taj Mahal was made by Emperor Shah Jahan for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal who died while giving birth to their 14th child after being in labor for 30 hours at the age of 40. Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of Queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen's real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Yamuna River.

Construction

Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad 'Isa', the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Kannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks. Builders were requisitioned from all over the Empire for the construction of Taj Mahal. Besides the local guilds of the Jamuna-Chambal region, artisans from Rajasthan, Malwa, Gujarat and Punjab participated in the work. By a rough estimate, about 20,000 skilled and unskilled workers were engaged for nearly 17 years (1632-48) on this vast project. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia and over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. The site was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage, and leveled at 50 meters (160 ft) above riverbank. In the tomb area, wells were dug and filled with stone and rubble to form the footings of the tomb. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, twenty eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.

Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural styles. Though, Shahjahan provided the vision behind the entire concept, when he was grief-stricken after his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal's death, during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. He was assisted in his endeavor by a number of architects including Muhammad Isa Khan, who hailed from Shiraz in Iran. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The Taj Mahal is built according to a predefined plan. It is built according to the Islamic concept of Paradise, where an enormous, shimmering pearl white dome stands supported by four corner pillars, from which flow the rivers of grace.

Building Material

Here we will read about the building material used in making of Taj Mahal and from which sources they have been arranged and bought. Three types of stones have been used in the construction of Taj Mahal:
The construction of Taj Mahal involves the use of semi precious stones such as Aqiq, Yemeni, Firoza, Lajward, Moonga, Sulaimani, Lahsania, Tamra, Yashab and Pitunia which were used for inlaying during the construction of Taj Mahal; rare and uncommon stones as Tilai, Pai-Zahar, Ajuba, Abri, Khattu, Nakhod and Maknatis which were used in bold inlay and mosaic chiefly on floors, exterior dados and turrets, and common stones as Sang-i-Gwalior (grey and yellow sand stone). Sang-i-Surkh (red sandstone), Sang-i-Musa (black state) and Sang-i-Rukham (Sang-i-Marmar, white marble) were used in foundations and masonry and to finish external faces like Mihrab and Minbar. Red stone was brought from the neighbouring Fatehpur Sikri, Tantpur and Paharpur and Rajasthan. White Marble was ordered from Makrana (Rajasthan) for the construction of Taj Mahal and was duly paid for, as the three firmans on record show. Makrana in Rajasthan is still popular for its white marbles and its marble can still be found in various marble markets in India. Semi-precious and rare stones were brought from distant places as Upper Tibet, Kumaon, Jaisalmer, Cambay and Ceylon.

Finance Arrangements

Funds for the construction of Taj Mahal were provided by the Royal Treasury of the Emperor and the Government Treasury of the Province of Agra (subah Akbarabad) and accounts were scrupulously maintained with annas and pies by Lala Rudra Das. Main item of expenditure were the cost of stones and wages paid to the workers. Record says the construction of Taj Mahal was not any easy task for Mughal government also as with the passage of time, its expenditure keep on increasing and caused negative impact of royal treasury. It was the matter of concern for financial managers. Even Aurangzeb was also not happy with this expenditure and opposed declared it as mis-use of fund for unproductive cause. It was the matter of disagreement between Shahjahan and Aurangzeb.

Workers

It is said that about 20000 skilled labour was engaged in construction of Tajmahal. They worked for 20 years to realize this dream project. This means a small township was developed near by site to accommodate the worker and their family members so that they can live their and concentrate on their work. Mughal government make arrangement for their daily use needs like water supply, shopping market, road, safety, education etc. Period of 20 years was not a small period. Many of the children born in beginning phase, gained their adulthood till completion of project. In making this magnificent building, workers are from different religions in which majority is of Hindus as their population is more. Without any discrimination, skilled labour is selected on merits and deployed on project. Today we all Indian feel proud of our forefathers who worked in this site and a great dream project was realized. It should be appreciated without any religious discrimination as working hand are of workers from all religions and from all sections of society.

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