architecture
Aug 173 min read

The design and architecture of the Taj Mahal

written by

Team Kaarwan

Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum that sits gracefully on the pedestal of Agra with its perfect image mirrored in the reflection pool in front of it giving it a surreal appearance. It is said that the place changes color by reflecting the ever-changing hues of the sky during different weather, seasons, and times of the day. The changing colors of the walls make the mausoleum feel like an alive and enchanted symbol of love. The Taj Mahal is often called the “epitome of Mughal architecture” and was acknowledged as the “jewel of Muslim art” by UNESCO.

This blog discusses the architecture of this majestic World Wonder in-depth so that you know what to look for when visiting!

1. Perfect symmetry

The perfect geometry of the complex emits peace and harmony adding to the structure’s grandeur. The symmetry makes a statement of absoluteness with the main dome and minarets and the division of gardens by 4 canals that meet at a raised central lotus pond.

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2. Optical illusion

The structure is built in such a way that when you enter the gate, it appears close and large. but as you approach it, it shrinks. This was done to avoid any visual interruptions and was achieved through minarets that appear perfectly upright but actually lean outward.

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3. Red stone and white marble

By using white stone reserved for Brahmins and red sandstone reserved for Kshatriyas, the Mughals identified with India’s two leading classes. The white marble was also a canvas for the changing lights of the day and is said to reflect the various moods of Shah Jahan.

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4. Exquisite walls

The walls are covered with calligraphy and Pietra dura, which inlays marble with precious stones like amber, coral, jade, and lapis lazuli. Since Islam condemns anthropomorphic art, the walls are decorated with abstract art and vegetative motifs.

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5. Recurrence of Four

The number 4 appears everywhere due to its numerological significance. It divides into equal parts, has several geometric representations, and is associated with logic and rigor which were characteristics sought by the Mughal builders.

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6. The Great Gate

The design is meant to resemble a gateway to a holy place and it’s made from a series of 11 identical domed pavilions called guldastas. It separates the inner courtyard from the gardens, creating a symbolic passage between the terrestrial and spiritual life.

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7. Reflection pool

The idea behind the pool is to purify the vision of those who enter. The sight of the colossal white mausoleum set against the sky reflecting in the pool creates the illusion of having the whole structure suspended, giving it an almost magical appeal.

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The Taj Mahal's architecture and design culminate in an exquisite testament to human ingenuity and artistic brilliance, where aesthetic elegance harmoniously intertwines with innovative engineering. Beyond its breathtaking symmetry and meticulous proportions, the Taj Mahal stands as a profound symbol of love and devotion, its historical legacy and emotional resonance adding depth to its ethereal beauty. As a pinnacle of architectural achievement, it continues to captivate the world with its timeless allure and cultural significance.

Team Kaarwan

Team Kaarwan

Since we graduated from IIT Roorkee, we have been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops on industry-relevant skills, that help students gain better employability across the Indian subcontinent!