What are the Taj Mahal specialties and Illusions ?

Taj Mahal is certainly the most beautiful monument not only in India but probably in the entire world. The beauty arises from symmetry and breath taking illusions. In this blog we will discuss some astonishing aspects of architecture used in this great monument which leverage the status of Taj Mahal to amazing heights.

Taj Mahal Specialties

The Taj Mahal is a Mughal monument made on the char bagh pattern. The Char Bagh concept is based on the holy Quran. The architects of Taj Mahal have tried to portray a scene of “Jannat” or heaven, they have tried to showcase how the deceased queen is living in heaven forever. Normally this pattern has beautiful four quartered gardens which are bisected by four streams respectively of milk, water, honey, and wine meeting in the center at the pool of bliss.

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Four Quarted Garden

Char Bagh Style in the Taj Mahal

Now normally the center point is the place where the Mughal monuments were constructed you can see the same concept in Humaon’s tomb in Delhi or Tomb of Etmad-ud-daulah in Agra. But in case of Taj Mahal the monument has been shifted to the extreme north corner and this shifting has in fact created the magic of the Taj Mahal. When you enter the Taj Mahal from the royal gate you actually see the lofty Taj Mahal seated on a huge pedestal beautifully mixing with the blue skies. Blue skies combined with white marble create an ethereal image of floating marble edifice; this visual stimulation leads to the wow effect. This is the first optical illusion and perhaps the most important one in the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

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Humayun’s Tomb is at the center of the Garden

The Taj Mahal and the blue Sky
The eastern Gate with array of rooms
The Royal Gate of the Taj Mahal

Symmetry – The utmost specialty of Taj Mahal

The designs of the Taj Mahal is certainly very symmetrical. As you enter the forecourt through the east or west gate you are led to an array of rooms on your either side and you are left wondering about where is the marble monument actually ? Moving a bit you gaze at the Royal gate which in itself is a masterpiece of architecture. Had this gate been elsewhere, sure it would have been an important monument.

The View of the Taj mahal from the Royal Gate arch

Walking towards the Taj Mahal seeming moving away

The visitors standing in front of the royal gate are left wondering, As they walk towards the royal gate across the arch you see the marble monument but only a small part of it is visible when you walk slowly towards the arch slowly the veil starts lifting up and more and more of the monument starts appearing. In fact, the monument appears walking away from you when you are walking towards it until you are out of the gate, suddenly the Taj mahal is in front of you blending so beautifully with blue skies and green gardens underneath thus creating an everlasting impression. This is the second optical illusion in the Taj Mahal.

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The letters appear uniform when viewed from the front

The Quranic verses at the Taj Mahal giving and illusion ?

As you stand in front of the royal gate you can see the verses of holy Quraan written around the royal gate the letters are in Arabic language and aesthetically they have been calligraphic and inlaid in white marble background. These verses are from the Surah Al Fazr (daybreak) and are done in Natalique script. There is a common scientific principle that distance makes the object appear big or small the architects of Taj Mahal used this principle very well.

The Taj Mahal specialties also lie in this respect that the letters of Quran when viewed from the front all appear the same size while actually; they are not and in fact have been so designed using trigonometry and Pythagoras. The letters at the bottom are the nearest to the viewer so are the smallest while letters at the top end are the biggest still they appear uniform in size this is the third optical illusion of the Taj Mahal.

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The central pool and the Diana Chair
The Fountains at the Taj Mahal

Specialty of water fountains in the Taj Mahal gardens

The Gardens are bisected by the four rivulets which confluence at the center here lies a marble platform around the water tank, The famous Diana seat is situated over here and the admirers of Tajmahal never forget to get an Instagram photograph in your Taj Mahal Tour. The long array of fountains on either side of the marble platform still work and the amazing fact is they still work with the original technology. The technology incorporates clay pipes underneath with earthen pots to control the pressure of the respective fountains this is an ingenious way how they all rise to the same level posing a beautiful picture of the Taj Mahal.

The leaning Taj Mahal minarets appearing straight- an illusion

The picture of the Taj Mahal when taken from the platform has the marble edifice in the center and two minarets which appear very straight, these minarets in actual are tilting a little bit from the base towards outside this was done as a security measure to safeguard the monument in case of an earthquake when these minarets if they fall they will fall away from the central monument, secondly had these minarets been straight then these would have appeared as leaning towards inside. This is the fourth important illusion of Tajmahal.

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The parallel lines made by the Jasmine flowers
The Jasmine Floor

The illusion created by the designs of Jasmine plinth

The floor of the marble platform of the Tajmahal has the depiction of jasmine flowers in white marble against the backdrop of red sandstone when you carefully see these flowers the petals are not joined together and they create an interesting geometric pattern. Its a scientific principle that two parallel lines when going for a long-distance they appear confluence with each other while when you watch the lines created by the geometric pattern of the chameli flooring the parallel lines stay apart even at large distance. This is the fifth optical illusion and specialty of the Taj Mahal.

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Circular appearance of the dome at the Taj Mahal
Actual bulbous dome with a neck

The visual illusion and facts of the Taj Mahal dome

The visual appearance of the Taj mahal when you stand in front is that of the main building and the minarets with a dome on the top. The dome appears very circular and similar to the dome at the famous monument of Gol Gumbaz Bijapur,  this is an illusion the real fact is that the dome of the Tajmahal has a neck and is actually onion-shaped the neck is not visible from the front this dome is also a double dome. Another remarkable illusion is that when you are inside the cenotaph chamber of the Taj Mahal you are made to believe that the dome you saw outside is the one you are now watching. While in reality the outside dome is different and has a long neck while the inner dome is visible only from inside the cenotaph.

Also read our related blog- Proposed Cleaning of the Dome of Taj Mahal in 2020

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The sun insignia and the inner dome

The inner dome is imprinted with the insignia of the Mughal empire (The Sun) the sun appears on the ceiling of the inside chamber and the view of the same is astounding.

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The Royal Guest house at the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is actually a very complex mathematical calculation with every aspect of the architecture in perfect symmetry; they even made a perfect replica of the mosque on the right side of the main building which was not meant to serve any real purpose. Some historians try to give a reason that the building on the right was a guest house, this appears impossible as the Taj Mahal is actually a graveyard the final resting place of the empress so certainly this wasn’t a place to entertain the guests.

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