The chehel sotoon (Forty Columns) palace is an even more striking example
The most famous Mogul building of all is,of course,the Taj Mahal,an image
familiar to millions of people throughout the world.
Shah Jehan,Akbar's grandson,lost his wife,Mumtaz Mahal ,in childbirth and
was so heart broken that he went into mourning for two years.He then created
a mausoleum for her on the banks of river Jumna.The tomb forms the focal
point at the centre of a great formal islamic paradise garden , divided into the
traditional four quarters ,with water and trees.It is raised on a terrace with four
minaretes placed symmetrically about it .The domain central dome ,bulbous in
the manner of the persian form, is enclosed at the four corners with four smaller
domes placed on open arches octagonal pavilions .The main structure is square
in plan,with spalyed corners,and pierced by pointed arches on two levels,except
at the entrance porch on the main axis , which rises the full height .
The entire building is sheathed in translucent white marble,(largely without intrusive
embellishment),which gives it a magical iluminosity and coloration that varies from
blue to white to golden yellow according to the time of day.To see the Taj Mahal
reflected in the lake ot sunset is an experience without parallel.
Both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jehan lie buried here , their memorials enclosed
within an exquuisite trellis screen carved from marble.
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