The Taj Mahal – Through the Eyes of an Architect

Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the man behind the architecture of TAJ MAHAL had never thought that what he designed as a mausoleum would turn out to be an architectural gem and among wonders of the world!


The TAJ!
A UNESCO World Heritage, Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaaz. This white marble mausoleum has been synonymous with eternal love. More than that, the most appealing thing about Taj Mahal is its architectural brilliance. A blend of Mughal, Persian, and Indian architectural styles, Taj Mahal is a beautiful example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The ever changing background of the monument gives it an ethereal aura.

It took hard labor of about 22,000 workers from Central Asia and Iran and 22 years (1632-1648) for the Taj Mahal to be constructed. The entire Taj complex comprises of five parts;
Darwaza (Main entrance)
Bageecha (Garden)
Masjid (Mosque)
Naqqar Khana (Rest house)
Rauza (The mausoleum)

The main entrance to the Taj Mahal on the south side plays the role of a grand entrance. Red sandstone is used in its construction and verses from Holy Quran are inscribed on it. The gate boasts of a vertical symmetry with Arabic calligraphy adorning both the borders.

The garden around the Taj comprises of an area of 300 meter by 300 meter. The garden is constructed with an immaculate symmetry and two marble canals with fountains cross in the center of the garden dividing it into four equal squares, known as the “Charbagh plan.” The Mausoleum is located on the north side of the garden and can be viewed clearly from any location in the garden. The quartets are further subdivided into 16 quartets with an elevated marble lotus pond with a cusped and trefoil border in the center of the garden. The water in this pond gives a crystal clear reflection of the Taj!
The garden is not only an example when it comes to architectural ingenuity; it also symbolizes spirituality and depicts Paradise “Jannat” in Islam.

The main tomb stands majestically on a square elevated platform raised 50 meter above the riverbank. The unique feature lies in the placement of the tomb at one end of the quadripartite garden which provides a rich depth and view of the Taj Mahal. The tomb stands on further raised platform, with the four sides of the octagonal base of the minarets extended beyond the square at the corners. The top of the platform can be reached through a lateral flight of steps in the center of the southern side of the tomb.

The ground floor and the upper floor have the same architectural layout with the octagonal tomb chamber in the center, portal halls, and four corner rooms. The exterior of the dome is square in shape and with furrowed corners. The cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan lie in the double storied domed chamber with the illusory cenotaph on the upper floor and real graves in the lower. The cenotaphs are decorated with inlay work using precious stones. An intricate marble lattice screens covers both the cenotaphs and is an example of excellent craftsmanship. The four minarets are special in giving a three- dimensional effect to the Taj Mahal.

On the two sides of the Taj Mahal, western and eastern sides are the Masjid and the Naqqar khana respectively built in red sandstone. The two situated on the opposite sides of the monument are provide a fine example of architectural symmetry and are mirror image of each other. The mosque and the rest house have a large platform over the terrace at their front. There is an oblong shaped prayer hall which has three vaulted bays arranged in a row with a centrally located portal. The frame of the entrance arches are covered with white marble. The spandrels are filled with decorative and intricate floral patterns made of stone.

The Taj Mahal, a perfect symmetrically planned building in which the main features are placed on the main axis, is an absolutely stunning example of the working of a human brain!

Author: Pooja S. Banerjee

A pharmacist by profession,Pooja has research experience in the field of herbal medicine and medicinal chemistry. She has also authored many International and National research and review papers in peer reviewed journals. Her passion for writing has made her foray into the world of medical writing. She writes travel blogs for creative satisfaction.


  1. Wow is the word that comes out of your mouth the moment one steps into this grand place. Well written Pooja.
    And Taj looks simply divine draped in full moon light.

  2. Great article about Taj Mahal, this is one of my top 10 places to see in my life.

    • Believe me Carol, the perfection of symmetry amazes you so much that you want to go and see it again and again. I myself have been there thrice and still marvel at the skill of erstwhile artisans, architects, and engineers; they did not have so many tools or computers to help them through. Its all human brain and that too at its best!

  3. Amazing facts! Visiting Taj Mahal is really a dream come true, but the sad news is that you cannot take your mobiles and cameras inside to capture those beautiful architectural works.
    It is best to hire a guide to know every nook and corner of this marvelous palace.
    It definitely needs to be one of the seven wonders of the world and so it is!!

  4. Bharadwaj Thiru says:

    There are a few details that are known and shared by the “guides” at the Taj. One such detail is the symmetry of the Quaran that is inscribed on the main building. The letters progressively increase in size so that when viewed from the ground appear to be of the same size!

    One other not as well know detail is that there is a room across in Agra Fort where Shah Jahan was held prisoner by Aurangazeb. When you hold a mirror in that room, you can see the entire reflection of the Taj.

  5. Indeed its a great article on ‘Tajmahal’ from an architectural point of view. This place is so beautiful that whoever visits it once wishes to visit again and again. I feel the best season to visit Taj is winter or spring.

  6. Tajmahal is Tajmahal . Your nicely written article revived the sweet memories of my visit to Tajmahal. Thanks .

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