The magnificent Taj

The French President was here and the biggest worry of a particular section of the media (or is it the majority?) is the absence of Carla Bruni. Had she accompanied him the TV channels would have hit a jackpot. There would have been a discussion during prime time and a few experts(?) would have been invited to the studios to analyze the issue in great detail. The print media too was not an exception. Almost the entire mass media reported the same day and the next day that Sarkozy was alone at Taj, the symbol of love. That brings me to the point of this blog, Is Taj a symbol of love. Surprisingly enough the answer could be a no too.

Without a doubt, the Taj is indisputably one of the most magnificent architectural masterpieces of all time. It certainly is a pride to India and deserves the top position in the list of 7 wonders for times to come. But what exactly does that building mean? what is the idea behind the construction of this marble-marvel? These issues do warrant some attention before declaring it as the symbol of love.

To understand the meaning of the building we may need to understand the Quarnic verses beautifully inscribed outside it in the form of calligraphy. One of the 22 verses compares the Taj with the Garden of Paradise where the appeased souls of the dead find refuge. The verse reads

(It will be said to the pious): O (you) the one in
(complete) rest and satisfaction!
Come back to your Lord, -- well-pleased (yourself)
and well-pleasing unto him!
Enter you, then, among My honored slaves,
And enter you My Paradise!

Enter whose paradise is the point to be taken note of and this is the inscription found at the entrance. Other verses stress on purity of faith, how paradise looks like, day of judgment etc which seem to have more of a religious outlook than being romantic.

The lay out of the building also needs to be looked into. It is generally believed that the layout of this marvel has been modeled based on the descriptions given for heaven as given in the religious texts, including the symmetry, the shapes, the dimensions, the gardens, the water channels and the location of various elements of the entire structure.

Taj Mahal, thus, can well be held as a symbol of power and prosperity. It showcases the economic affluence and pinnacle of Mughal architecture. Above all, it is conceived and created as a representation of paradise.

Somebody (well versed in medieval Indian history) once jokingly pointed out that if Shah Jahan was so deeply in love with Mumtaz why did he give her the trouble of bearing 14 children. (she actually died while giving birth to the 14th child) In fact there is a school of history which believes that Shah Jahan apparently died of an overdose of aphrodisiac. May be a sarcastic perspective but still it has a point.

History is one subject where everybody has the luxury of interpreting the facts in whichever way we like and thus we may never know what the real picture is. Also the facts presented in various historical sources are well subject to the bias of the creator. I somehow feel this argument more convincing than it being a symbol of love.

Thats the building under question. A truly mesmerizing piece of art and it justs melts you when you walk towards it from the entrance. The feeling is better felt than expressed in words and i, for one, am not sure if it is romanticism or something else. Nevertheless, it is a visual treat which has no parallels and is also the most photographed building in the world including this one below, shot by me ;).

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S Ramanathan said...

well, i dont really think u shud call it a 'building'. a bit demeaning for such a great piece of architecture.

and, i guess why they call it a symbol of love is that they believe he took so much pains to build it in her memory. there might be verses showing his might and prosperity, but one of the reasons was love too, or so they say. of course, i agree to the fact that we dont know how far history is right.

suren said...

well... as a piece of architecture it gets full marks and more than that... may be i m not sure if it stands for love or not but i am in love with that building deeply...

cookie™ said...

does not match my views!
but its nice!

Gauri Gharpure said...

very interesting post.. and tht ws a nce pic too!

Viraj said...

when u say tht history is a subject tht gives historians to interpret it iin ne manner, i would like to add another interesting view to it. i hav come across historians who claim tht shah jahan had more thn 20 wives. and even if v dont take it to be true, v know it for sure tht polygamy was very much prevalent during tht time amongst the mughals. how in such a situation can one building be the symbol of love for one of those wives?

The Jester said...

shah jahan loved her too much to keep his hands off her. thats one way to look at it.

Ajay Kumar said...

Gud perspective there. I kinda like the TAj Mahal, bt i can never accept it as a symbol of love, taking into account the number of deaths that took to build it. Nice post btw!!

gnubie said...

I dont know really if u ppl are aware that, taj mahal is not a mughal monument but an ancient shiva temple. Its called tejo mahalaya, if u believe it it fine, if not plz dont flame me. im not a hindu fanatic but a strong believer in that.
Find more infor here

suren said...

@gauri thanks
@viraj,jester n ajay.. thanks ppl.. thanks for stopping by and sharing .. do visit again
@gnubie welcome to my blog thala... hoping to get more visits

huzefa said... info