Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey
www.hillmanweb.com/book

HILLMAN INDIA ADVENTURE
www.hillmanweb.com/india  :: www.hillmanweb.com/india/north
North India: Gallery 21b
TAJ MAHAL III
Spectacular Dawn Light Views:
From The Pools, Rest Room and Plinth
www.hillmanweb.com/india/north/n21b.html

CONTENTS
PHOTO GALLERIES and TRAVEL NOTES
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 |

The most spectacular feature of Taj Mahal is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb. The dome is nearly 35 metres high  accentuated by the cylindrical "drum" it sits on which is approximately 7 metres (23 ft) high. The top of the dome is decorated with a lotus design which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasized by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners, which replicate the onion shape of the main dome.  Their columned bases open through the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. 

The main finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of gilded bronze in the early 19th century. This feature provides a clear example of integration of traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements. The finial is topped by a moon, a typical Islamic motif whose horns point heavenward.

The minarets, which are each more than 40 metres tall, display the designer's penchant for symmetry. They were designed as working minarets—a traditional element of mosques, used by the muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a final balcony surmounted by a chattri that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that in the event of collapse, a typical occurrence with many tall constructions of the period, the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.

The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays or carvings. Throughout the complex are passages from the Qur'an that comprise some of the decorative elements. 

 The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used. The interior walls are about 25 metres high and are topped by a "false" interior dome decorated with a sun motif. The octagonal marble screen or jali bordering the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces are inlaid in delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers. 

The octagonal marble screen or jali bordering the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces are inlaid in delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers. 

Click for larger images

Past the Reflective Pools


Keeper of the Rest House (to the right of the main dome) welcomes us.
A good vantage point from which to take photos of the dome in the dawn sunlight


Photos from the plinth under the main dome

GALLERY 21b

TAJ MAHAL :: AGRA'S CROWN OF PALACES
Photos 1 | Photos 2 | Photos 3 | Photos 4 | Alt 1 | Alt 2


BACK TO NORTH INDIA CONTENTS

www.hillmanweb.com/india/north

BACK TO MAIN INDIA INTRO PAGE


BackHomeNext

.
Web Design:  Bill Hillman: hillmans@wcgwave.ca
Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio
hillmanweb.com