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Taj Mahal In 1631–1648, on the orders of Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was a colossal mausoleum made of white marble and built by Agra, the Mughal Emperor, in memory of his favorite wife. It is India’s jewel and one of the most admired monuments in the world’s cultural heritage.

Outstanding Universal Value

The Taj Mahal can be found in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra district on the right bank. It is situated in a sizeable Mughal garden covering nearly 17 hectares. It was constructed by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor, in memory of Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1632 AD. The main gateway, the mosque, and the guesthouse were completed in 1648 AD. Later, the outer courtyard with its cloisters was completed in 1653 AD. Many Quranic and historical inscriptions in Arabic script allow for the setting of the Taj Mahal chronology. It required masons, stone cutters and inlayers, carvers and painters, calligraphers, and dome builders. Ustad Ahmad Lahori designed the Taj Mahal. In Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is considered to be the most important architectural achievement. Its architectural beauty is a rhythmic mixture of bodies, cavities, concave/convex, and light shadows. Additional aesthetic elements, such as arches or domes, add to its beauty. A lush green landscape, a reddish patch, and a blue sky above show the monument in different moods and colors. It is distinguished by its marble relief and inlay with precious or semi-precious stones.

Some genuinely unique innovations by Shah Jahan’s horticulture planners, architects, and gardeners are what make the Taj Mahal unique. One example of such genius planning was placing the tomb at one end rather than the exact center of the quadripartite plant. It is also one of the most impressive examples of raised tombs. Further, the tomb is presented on a square platform. The four sides of the octagonal minaret base extend beyond the square at its corners. To reach the platform’s top, one must use a flight of steps that runs along the south side.

Octagonal Tomb Chamber:

The Taj Mahal’s ground plan is balanced in composition. It includes the octagonal tomb chamber in the middle, the portal halls, and four corner rooms. On the second floor, the same plan is followed. The tomb’s exterior is square-shaped with chamfered corners. An octagon is the vast, double-story, domed chamber that houses Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaphs. It was a fantastic piece of craftsmanship to create the exquisite octagonal marble lattice screens that surround both cenotaphs. It is highly polished and richly decorated with inlay work. It has borders inlaid with precious stones that represent flowers. The shades and hues of the stones used for the leaves and flowers look almost real. The cenotaph for Mumtaz Mahal, located in the center of the tomb chamber’s central area, has been placed on a rectangular platform with floral plant motifs inlaid. Shah Jahan’s cenotaph is larger than Mumtaz Mahal and was installed on the other side in the west. The cenotaphs at the top are illusory. The actual graves are located in the lower tomb chamber (crypt), a common practice in imperial Mughal tombs.

Mughal Architecture:

The Mughal architecture gained a new dimension with the addition of four independent minarets on the corners. The four minarets provide a spatial reference to the monument and add three-dimensionality to the building. Next to the tomb, The main gate is located in the middle of the south wall of the forecourt and is most prominent in the Taj Mahal complex; on the north side, double arcade galleries flank the gate. The gallery’s garden is divided into four quarters using two main walkways. Each quarter is then subdivided into the narrower cross-axial pathways, part of the Timurid/Persian scheme. The pavilion is located at the center of the enclosure walls to the west and east. The Taj Mahal is a perfectly symmetrical-designed building. Natural Golds strongly emphasizes bilateral symmetry along the central axis, where the main features are located. Brick-in-lime mortar is used with red sandstone, marble, and inlay work with precious or semi-precious stones. Red sandstone was used to build the Taj Mahal mosque and guest house, contrasting with the marble tomb at the center. A large platform tops the platforms at the front of both buildings. The guest house is the same as the mosque. The large, oblong prayer hall is composed of three bays with vaulted ceilings arranged in a row. It has a central portal. The spandrel and frame of the entrances are white marble. The spandrels have floral arches of stone intarsia, and the hooks are surrounded by rope moldings.

Criteria I:

Taj Mahal represents the highest architectural and artistic achievement through perfect harmony, excellent craftsmanship, and a wide range of Indo-Islamic grave architecture. It is an architectural masterpiece in its conception, treatment, and execution. In addition, it has unique aesthetic qualities such as balance, symmetry, and harmonious blending.

Integrity:

Intactness in the tomb, mosque guest house, main gate, and all of the Taj Mahal’s other buildings is a sign of integrity. The physical fabric of the Taj Mahal is in good condition. Structural stability, verticality, and nature of the foundation have all been examined and monitored. An air control monitoring station has been installed to monitor the air quality and detect any decay factors. This is done to limit the effects of atmospheric pollutants. The extended buffer zone must be managed and appropriately enforced to protect the environment. Future development of tourist facilities will also need to preserve the property’s functional and visual integrity, especially in Agra Fort.

Authenticity:

The conditions of authenticity maintained at the time of the inscription for the tomb, main gate, guest house, mosque, and overall Taj Mahal complex While there have been many repairs and conservation work, they have not affected the original properties of the buildings. Future conservation work must follow guidelines to preserve the original form and design.

Management and protection of the Taj Mahal:

The Archaeological Survey of India manages the Taj Mahal complex. They also provide legal protection and control over the area around them. These include the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 and the Rules of 1960 on Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains. This is sufficient for the administration of the property and its buffer areas. Other laws protect the property from development in the surrounding area. Protecting the Taj Mahal from pollution is a 10-kilometer area. In December 1996, the Supreme Court of India issued a ruling prohibiting coal and coke within industries in the Taj Trapezium Zone. It also prohibited switching to natural gas and relocating these industries outside the TTZ. The TTZ comprises 40 protected monuments, including three World Heritage Sites: the Taj Mahal Fort, the Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri.

Agra Circle:

The federal government provides sufficient funds to cover buffer areas. The federal government provides adequate funds for the overall preservation and maintenance of the site. This was done under the supervision of the supervising archaeologist at Agra Circle. An integrated management plan is required to maintain the property’s current conditions. It is especially important in light of the significant pressures derived from visitor visits that will require adequate management. A comprehensive public use plan should be established, and guidelines should be provided for infrastructure development.

Surround both cenotaphs:

Highly polished and richly decorated by inlay work. It has borders inlaid with precious stones that represent flowers. The shades and hues of the stones used for the leaves and flowers look almost real. In the center of the tomb chamber’s central area, the cenotaph for Mumtaz Mahal, is located on a rectangular platform with floral plant motifs inlaid, Shah Jahan’s cenotaph is larger than Mumtaz Mahal’s on the other side of the west. The cenotaphs at the top are illusory. The actual graves are located in the lower tomb chamber (crypt), a common practice in imperial Mughal tombs. The Mughal architecture gained a new dimension with the addition of four independent minarets on the corners.

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