The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The Taj Mahal (Hindi: ताज महल, Persian, Urdu: تاج محل), is a monument located in Agra in India, constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 20,000. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, who is better known as Mumtaz Mahal.

[View of Taj Mahal monument from the roof of the Gatehouse, looking across the Chahar Bagh - Gardens of Paradise, through the mid-morning ... all » haze. Cooking fires in the early morning produced a haze which persisted until mid-afternoon. All Taj Mahal videos by by Armchair Travel Co Ltd, London]

The Taj Mahal (sometimes called “the Taj”) is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Indian, Persian architecture and Turkish architecture[1] [2]. The Taj Mahal has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures.

[A view panning from the gardens to the monument of the Taj Mahal. Late morning.]

The Taj Mahal complex is bounded by a crenellated red sandstone wall on three sides. The river-facing side is unwalled. Outside the wall are several additional mausoleums, including those of many of Shah Jahan’s other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz’s favourite servant. These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of smaller Mughal tombs of the era.

[A collection of views from the southeast minaret of the Taj Mahal. Late morning.]

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