Taj Mahal Water Devices & Layout
Water Devices & Layout
Taj Gardens and the Ingenious Water Devices A green carpet of garden
runs from the main gateway to the foot of the Taj. In essence, it is a
Persian garden, a from born and nursed to maturity in the desert flat of
Persia. Such gardens were introduced to India by Baber, the first mughal
emperor, who also brought with him the Persian infatuation with flowers
and fruits, birds and leaves,
symmetry and delicacy. Unlike other Oriental gardens - especially those of the Japanese, who learned to accentuate existing resources rather than formalise them - the Persian garden was artificially
contrived, unabashedly man-made, based on geometric arrangements of nature without any attempt at a "natural" look. Like Persian gardeners, landscape artists at the Taj attempted to translate the perfection of heaven into terrestrial terms by following certain formulas. In Islam, four is the holiest of all numbers - most arrangements of the Taj are based on that number or its multiples - and the gardens were thus laid out in the quadrate plan. Two marble canals studded with fountains and lined with cypress trees (symbolising death) cross in the centre of the garden dividing it into four equal squares. The mausoleum, instead of occupying the central point (like most mughal mausoleums), stands majestically at the north end just above the river. Each of the four quarters of the garden have again been sub-divided into sixteen flower beds by stone paved raised pathways. At the centre of the garden, halfway between the tomb and the gateway, there is a raised marble lotus tank with a cusped and trefoiled border. The tank has been arranged to perfectly reflect the Taj in its waters. A clear, unoblieterated view of the mausoleum is available from any spot in the garden. Fountains and solemn rows of cypress trees only adorn the north south water canal, or else the attention of the viewer would be
diverted to the sides !! This shows how carefully the aesthetic effect of the water devices and the garden were calculated. The deep green cypress trees with their slender rising shapes and curving topmost crests are mirrored in the water while between their dark reflections shines the
beauty of the immortal Taj.
was drawn from the river by a series of purs (manual system of drawing
water from a water body using a rope and bucket pulled by bullocks) and
was brought through a broad water channel into an oblong storage tank of
great dimensions. It was again raised by a series of thirteen purs
worked by bullocks. Except for the ramps, the other features of the whole
water system have survived. An over-head water channel supported on massive
arches carried water into another storage tank of still greater dimensions.
Water was finally raised with the help of of fourteen purs and passed
into a channel which filled three supply tanks, the last of which had pipe
mouths openings in its eastern wall. The pipes descended below and after
flowing underground crossed into the Taj enclosure. One pipe line runs
directly towards the mosque to supply the fountains in the tanks on the
red sandstone plinth below the marble structure. Copper pipes were used
for separate series of fountains in the north-south canal, lotus pond and
the canal surroundig it.
garden is irrigated by the overflowing of canals. The north-south canal
has inlets of water through fountains. The east west received its water
through an interconnection with the north-south canal. Thus the quarters
near the canals received an adequate supply of water and could be used
for growing flower plants which would not obscure the general view, while
the distant quarters got a smaller supply of water and were suitable only
for tall trees .
The marble mausoleum is square in plan with chamfered corners. Each facade of the tomb is composed of a grand iwan framed by bands of calligraphy. The doorways inside these iwans are also adorned with calligraphy. The iwan is flanked on both sides by small double arches one over the other. They are rectangular while the arched alcoves of equal size at the angles of the tomb are semi-octagonal. Each section in the facade is well debarked on both sides by attached pilasters which rising from the plinth level of the tomb rise above the frieze and are crowned by beautiful pinnacles with lotus buds and finials. The pinnacles add sparkle to the superstructure and help along with the other features to break the skyline gracefully.
Taj Mahal is entered through the portal on the south side. Inside,
two stories of eight rooms (four rectangular rooms on the sides and four
octagonal small rooms at the corners) surround a central chamber. These
rooms were originally used for the mullahs to chant the Koran and for Musicians
who played soft Indians and Persian melodies. In this nine part plan, the
visitor can circumambulate through the subsidiary rooms on each floor since
they are interconnected. The central chamber is octagonal, and in the centre
is the tomb of the queen and to one side is the casket of the emperor.
The hall is 80 ft. high from the pavement to the soffit of the interior
dome. This makes sound echo
According to the story, unwilling to allow the native artisans all the credit for excellence in creating the most magnificent building in the world, Father Manrique in 1641 advanced the preposterous claim of the Italian jeweler Geronimo Veroneo as architect of Taj Mahal. Father Manrique was an Augustinian Friar who came to Lahore for the release of one Father Antony who was captured by the Mughals. And yes, there was an Italian jeweler by the name of Geronimo Veroneo, who lived in Agra for some time.
If ever this Italian jeweler was really commissioned, he was overawed by the mammoth work and cost, and wisely ran away to Surat in 1632 when the project had just started. Shahjahan had asked Veroneo, says Manrique, to spend two crores. The jeweler who only designed necklaces and bracelets proved thoroughly incompetent for the royal project and vanished from the scene, escaping the Emperor's ire but providing much mirth and chuckles to the native artisans. Even if we accept that Veroneo had a part in designing the Taj, it is somehow unthinkable to have only one designer for this great monument. In most probability, he was just one of the many who worked on Taj Mahal at that time
On a platform 22' high and 313' square.Corner minarets 137' tall. Main structure 186' on a side, dome to 187'.The mausoleum is 57 m (190 ft) square in plan. "The central inner dome is 24.5m (81 ft) high and 17.7 m (58 ft) in diameter, but is surmounted by an outer shell nearly 61 m (200 ft) in height."
Swami Rajesh Chopra's