The most glorious monument in the world, the Taj Mahal. Equal in height and width and identical from all four sides. The row of fountains, if taken up all the way to the Taj, are placed in such precision that they would divide the monument in two mirror halves. The onion shaped dome is capped by an inverted lotus ( a Hindu religious symbol) on top of which is an iron staff with a crescent ( Islamic religious symbol). The crescent is exactly 1/8th the height of the Taj, the Taj being 55 metres. Here the symmetrical division with the fountains and the precision with which both ‘parts’ are identically constructed, is clearly visible.
The Entrance Gate: The central arch through which a similar arched shape of exact dimensions ( part of the Taj) is visible.The aayats are written in larger sized script in the horizontal line, while the size is smaller in the lower portions of the vertical bands. This was done to maintain symmetry to have them look of equal dimension when viewed from a distance.
The Layout: All the fountains are linked underground by a common water line to a single reservoir just outside the practising mosque of the Taj. The pressure in each of them is kept uniform to maintain an identical height of the water spouting up.
The dome: Spikes/poles are hung through the many hooks on the dome. This helps the cleaners haul themselves up taking the support of the poles.
Close up of the dome: The famous pietra dura work and the aayats of the Quran engraved in marble. The hooks on the dome are very visible here.
Optical illusion: A four-petalled flower, a star and a hexagon, all visible in the same patch of stone in the courtyard. Four, eight and its multiples are holy numbers in Islam. A star is symbolic of the Hindu religion.
The minarets: The slant in the minarets was deliberate. In the unfortunate occurence of an earthquake, the slant would ensure that the minarets fall away from the Taj rather than onto it!
A side view: Slice it into two, and you would get a mirror image.
Symmetry and precision in sandstone
The positioning: Standing on a sharp bend of the Yamuna in direction of the river current is indicative of a preferred architectual position. In the unfortunate event of floods, the curve would ensure that water, instead of collecting, would flow away from the Taj.
The view from the Taj: Emperor Shahjehan, who resided in the Agra Fort, would take the boat to the Taj and climb up steps at the back to be near his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, the jewel of the palace (Mumtaz -jewel; Mahal -palace). Many years later, when he was imprisoned in the same Agra Fort by his wily son Aurangzeb, he would look at the Taj from his prison.