Considered as a symbol of love and beauty, Taj Mahal was built in 1653. It is located along the banks of Yamuna River in Agra city, which is approximately 240 km from the national capital Delhi. Taj Mahal is currently one of the most frequented tourist spots in the world, receiving around 7-8 million visitors annually. Just as its magnificence and splendor, Taj Mahal is also much talked about its various mysteries and secrets. To get a better idea, here are some of the most interesting facts about Taj Mahal.
Black Taj Mahal – Made from ivory-white marble, the existing structure provides for one of the most fascinating views in the world. However, not many people know that an exact replica in black marble was planned to be built. This was supposed to be located just opposite to the existing structure, on the other side of Yamuna. That plan, however, could not be implemented as Aurangzeb seized control of power from his father Shah Jahan. The prospect of black Taj Mahal remains debatable, as historians have raised their doubts about such a plan.
Taller than Qutab Minar – Among the ancient structures, Qutab Minar is considered to be one of the tallest. Any individual visiting both these locations will assume that Qutab Minar is taller than Taj Mahal. However, the fact is that Taj Mahal is 73 meters whereas the Qutab Minar is slightly shorter at 72.5 meters. As Taj Mahal is horizontally spaced out, it sort of hides its actual height.
Sold by conmen – There have been cases where Taj Mahal was sold to unsuspecting customers by conmen. One of the most popular stories relates to an Indian conman named Natwarlal. It is believed that he had managed to sell Taj Mahal multiple times. Natwarlal is also believed to have sold other structures such as Indian Parliament building, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Red Fort.
Artisans’ hands cut off – This is one of the most common stories associated with Taj Mahal. It is believed that Shah Jahan did not want anyone to create anything similar to Taj Mahal. It is believed that Shah Jahan had ordered to cut off the hands of artisans and craftsmen who had built Taj Mahal. Some accounts also say that their eyes were gouged off. However, there is no proper evidence to prove that such stories were true.
Changing colors – Depending on what time you visit the monument, you might find Taj Mahal in a different color. For example, Taj Mahal looks pinkish during sunrise hours in comparison to the orange bronze shade noticed during evening hours. At noon in bright sunlight, Taj Mahal reveals its true color of glittering white. Taj Mahal is also said to look even more beautiful during full moon nights.
Regular facial – Not just humans, structures like Taj Mahal are also battling air pollution. Due to various pollutants in the air, the ivory white marble of Taj Mahal tends to get yellow overtime. To restore it to its natural color and shine, Taj Mahal gets facial at regular intervals. Natural materials such as Multani mitti (Fuller’s earth) are used to maintain Taj Mahal in its original form.
Empty cenotaphs – The cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal have intricate design work that are widely appreciated. However, these cenotaphs are essentially empty. The actual burial site is at the garden level, below the cenotaphs.
Symbol of power – While most believe Taj Mahal as a symbol of love, experts say that it must have also served as a symbol of power for Shah Jahan. The extra-large and extravagant structure must have been key to establishing the idea of absolute power among whomsoever must have visited it.