Taj Mahal Highlights – KVIA

CNN Editorial Research

Here is some general information about the Taj Mahal, India’s most popular tourist attraction. The monument is located on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India.

Facts

The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.

“Taj Mahal” means “crown of palace” in Urdu and Persian.

In fiscal 2020, nearly 1.26 million people visited the Taj Mahal, according to statistics from India’s Ministry of Tourism.

The site is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, which has organized multi-year clean-up projects to restore discolored areas on the facade of the Taj Mahal caused by air pollution and insect excretions from the Yamuna River adjacent.

Architecture

The most recognizable feature of the Taj Mahal is the large white domed mausoleum, which is surrounded by four tall minarets at each corner. The exterior is in white marble.

The main building contains two cenotaphs commemorating Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. A cenotaph is a Greek word meaning “empty tomb”. The couple are actually buried in sarcophagi below.

The cenotaphs and the screen around them are covered with intricately designed mosaics made of semi-precious stones.

On either side of the Taj Mahal are two red sandstone buildings: a mosque and a meeting hall.

The grounds also include gardens and a long reflecting pool.

Chronology

1628 – Shah Jahan becomes emperor as part of the Mughal dynasty, ruling over northern India.

1631 – His wife, Mumtaz Mahal, dies during childbirth.

1632 – Construction of the Taj Mahal begins. It is estimated that around 20,000 workers helped build the structure.

1648 – The Taj Mahal’s main mausoleum is complete.

1653 – Additional elements including a mosque, guesthouse and courtyard are completed.

1666 – Shah Jahan dies and his remains are buried next to Mumtaz Mahal under the Taj Mahal complex.

1861 – The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is founded to help preserve and restore India’s historic monuments and sites.

1899-1905 – Lord Curzon of Great Britain is the Viceroy of India. During his tenure, he ordered the restoration of certain historic sites, including the Taj Mahal.

1983 – UNESCO designates the Taj Mahal as a World Heritage Site.

July 7, 2007 – The Taj Mahal is named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. as part of an online marketing campaign.

October 2017 The Taj Mahal is one of many sites excluded from a brochure issued by the Uttar Pradesh Department of Tourism. Referring to Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s explanation that the monument does not “reflect Indian culture”, Swapan Dasgupta, BJP member of India’s upper house of parliament, told CNN that any controversy had been exaggerated.

April 1, 2018 – A three-hour limit for visitors to the Taj Mahal is put in place.

May 9, 2018 – India’s Supreme Court orders ASI to do a better job with its restoration plan as the discoloration and stains on the exterior of the Taj Mahal have not been resolved as promised.

March 17, 2020 – The ASI orders the closure of all monuments and museums due to the threat of the coronavirus, including the Taj Mahal.

June 14, 2021 – ASI issues a statement that monuments and museums closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will reopen on June 16, with protective guidelines in place.

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