Forspoken: Taj Mahal

Forspoken: Taj Mahal

Whenever you hear about India, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Among all those Bollywood songs, actors and Indian Sweets, Taj Mahal as an epitome of love and passion is most probably deep rooted in your hearts. Taj Mahal is the symbol of India’s rich culture and heritage. It was built by Shah Jahan in 1631 as a way of showing his devotion towards his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died on 7th June in the same year. Taj Mahal is declared by Rabindranath Tagore as ‘the tear-drop on the cheek of time’. Because it is cherished for its architecture, beauty and the grandeur. Moreover, Taj Mahal was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. However, this article will take you on a journey of hard to believe, dark hidden mysteries of Taj Mahal. Because, Taj Mahal remains one of the greatest mysteries to date, for a number of reasons.

Some people assume that Taj Mahal is not built by Shah Jahan. It will be an interesting journey to unfold the first glimpse of mystery behind this. Taj Mahal is believed to be a Hindu Temple which was built by Rajputs in Agra. The most exciting part of the mystery about this claim is hidden inside the walls of Taj Mahal itself. The repair and maintenance workers have seen secret rooms and corridors with Hindu paintings and these rooms are dark with no light or air. Moreover, there is an unnoticeable stream of water near Taj Mahal, people believe that this stream of water is the water that was poured by Hindu devotees when Taj Mahal was a temple. Through these evidences of paintings which were inspired by Hindu culture and the stream of water, people thought about a hidden truth behind these walls and its ownership.  Some people and researchers assumed that Shah Jahan had conquered this temple and claimed this as his own as a Muslim tomb. And they believe that Shah Jahan has closed these rooms to hide the truth, but the result is a mystery about who built Taj Mahal. Now your curiosity will be at its highest to peep into these secret rooms one day while visiting Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, the secret rooms that show the Hindu identity is sealed by the Indian government to keep the mysteries unsolved and untold.

The unique pillars of Taj Mahal which is also known as the four minarets enrich some sort of mystery. The minarets that are deliberately constructed, slightly tilted from the surface enhance the curiosity of its purpose as well as the technology behind those pillars. You will be fascinated to know that although it was built years ago, the slightly slanted formation of the minarets is done to save Taj Mahal from any natural disaster mainly, earthquakes. Moreover, this formation gives an aesthetic balance to the main structure. If an earthquake happens, the minarets will fall away from the major structure to protect this giant masterpiece. The series of thoughts of planning and such architectural knowledge is quite fascinating and mysterious. Because, this will create curiosity on how humankind could be this farsighted to construct Taj Mahal with slightest consideration of everything.

Another mystery of Taj Mahal is linked with its true beauty of changing colors. Even when you visit India, you will be given the chance to watch the special change of vivid colours in Taj Mahal during different times of the day. At sunrise the monument is light pink or grey but with the sunset the colour is changed to orangish bronze. This is a breathtaking and mesmerizing view to watch because the inanimate monument can create a range of colors that shall doubtleely give you an ethereal feeling. At night the monument will sparkle like the moon. Special tickets are also available for eclipse and full moon night viewings. The mechanisms behind this colour change throughout the day is still not figured out. However, you will be more amazed at this view rather than being curious about the mystery behind this.

There are other marvels and mysterious things related to Taj Mahal.  Your mind will be blown away by the optical illusion that this majestic structure creates in front of your eyes. When you step into the site through the main door, the monument appears to be incredibly near, majestic and gigantic. But when you step closer towards the structure, the monument shrinks in its size. For a moment, you will feel like there is a hidden magician inside Taj Mahal to trick your mind.  This optical illusion is one of the mysterious architectural wisdom that have been used to blow our minds. The most interesting part is that no one has found out the technology behind this optical illusion of Taj Mahal.

Now it is the time to unpack some other tiny bits of mysterious, dark and hidden facts and myths of Taj Mahal. Have you ever seen a replica of Taj Mahal with same grandeur in any part of the world?  Most probably, you have not seen such a structure. There is myth as a reason for this. It is believed that Shah Jahan supposedly gouged the eyes and severed hands of the craftsmen who built Taj Mahal to prevent them from recreating the masterpiece.  Although historians are yet to gather facts to prove this myth a reality, it is always intriguing and thrilling to find out the hidden facts. Apart from these myths, there are other hidden facts that you may be keen to explore. The visitors believe that the cenotaphs (the coffin-like structures) had been built to honor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. However , the cenotaphs are showpieces  but in reality the real coffin of Mumtaz Mahal lies in  a secret room below the ground level. It is a widely known fact that Taj Mahal is entirely built by using marbles, but the current studies have proven that the structure is mainly made with big lumps of sandstones and clay bricks and it is covered with marbles. Moreover, you may think, what is the purpose of designing this monument with squares and polygons in a repetitive manner. This style is used to symbolize the divine perfection of Islamic art, culture and architecture.

Rudyard Kipling once expressed his views about Taj Mahal as “It seemed the embodiment of all things pure, all things holy, and all things unhappy. That was the mystery of the building.” With his thoughts on Taj Mahal, it is interesting and fascinating to know all the bits and pieces that carry some sort of a mystery in this great architectural marvel.  As we have explored a series of mysteries, you may be convinced that discovering the mysteries behind the closed doors of Taj Mahal is the best way to prompt yourself to visit this place someday.

– Rtr Thilini Chandrarathne

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