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Historical architecture

Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and amazing buildings in the world and is truly deemed as one of the wonders of the world. The building is distinguished as the finest example of Mughal architecture. It is actually a mausoleum built by the Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumaz Mahal. The Mughal Emperor commissioned the building of this great mausoleum following the death of his wife in the year 1633. The construction of the main building was finally completed in the year 1648, while the adjacent surrounding buildings took five more years to be completed.

The mughal style of architecture is known for it’s combining the Indian, Persian, Turkish and Arabic styles. The land where the mausoleum was constructed belonged to Maharaja Jal Singh and the Emperor purchased it by giving the Maharaja a large palace in the center of Agra city. The site was chose because of the affection of the deceased queen with the garden there. Because the river Yamuna flows beside the site of construction and seepage was a constant problem in the area a large area was dug out and filled with dirt.

This foundation was built nearly 50 meters above the level of the river. The building was going to be built with marble and other heavy material and in order to provide support a strong foundation of plinth was constructed, which was filled with timber, stone and iron. A large brick scaffold was built in order to mirror the tomb. To make the transportation of the building material feasible a 15-kilometer long ramp, while dozens of bulls and oxen were used to pull the bricks and other heavy material to the site.

In order to supply the bricks to elevated locations of the tomb a complex pulley system was designed. (Zahoor & Haq, pp 1) The gardeners had started their work soon after the commencement of the construction so that the garden would be matured as the construction is completed. In a couple of years the riverside terrace, the plinth, the basement and galleried rooms on the side of the river were completed. The material used in the construction of Taj Mahal had been brought from all over the Indian subcontinent as well as other Asian countires like Persia, Ottoman Empire and Afghanistan.

The orginal structure of the walls of the building consisted of bricks and rubble while its outer face was of marble. The white marble used was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan some 250 miles away from the construction site. The jasper used belonged to Punjab, while the crystel and jade was imported from China. There were roughly 28 kind of semi precious stones embedded with the white marble in the inner decoration of the premises all imported from Tibet, Afghanistan, China as well as Arabia.

(Koch, 201-239) The calligraphic artwork was mainly done by Ustad Amanat Khan. The chief designer of the building is considered Ustad Isa from Persia and Isa Afandi from Persia. (Tracktenberg & Hyman, 223) The overall cost of construction is estimated to be 5 million rupees. But unfortunately the Emperor was deposed soon after the completion of the mausoleum and spent the rest of his life in the Agra fort gazing at the Taj Mahal and was later buried there after his death.

Works Cited

Koch, Ebba [Aug 2006]. “The Complete Taj Mahal: And the Riverfront Gardens of Agra (Paperback), First (in English)”, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 288 pages. ISBN 0500342091. Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. “Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism”. 1986, Prentice Hall. p223 Zahoor A. & Haq Z. “Taj Mahal, Agra, India. IslamCity. Com, retrieved 05th December, 07. <http://www. islamicity. com/Culture/Taj/default. htm>

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