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16.05.2015
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Hidden rooms, chambers, and Foundations in the Taj Mahal that existed have been hidden and defaced then covered up away from the public gaze.
These arches along the eastern side of the plinth are an indication of the row upon row of rooms total 1089 that lie hidden inside the marble plinth.
Closely scrutinise how the arches and the rectangular ventilators above have been sealed with marble slabs of different sizes and tints. Besides these many are kept locked by the Government for fear of enraging Muslims and exposing the incompetence of historians world-wide.
The public must raise its voice to have these opened or should institute legal proceedings.
Rooms and Foundations that existed have been hidden and defaced then covered up away from the public gaze. If the public knew of the Taj hiding hundreds of rooms they would insist in seeing the whole of it. Original Rooms and Foundations that existed have been hiden and crudely covered up away from the public gaze. A corner of one of the rooms in the secret storey immediately below the marble platform of the Taj Mahal.
The corridor is pitch dark because Shahjahan has sealed all the riverside ventilators allowing light and air. Seeing the Taj Mahal in photographs or movies you can never imagine its grandeur until you see it in front of you. After the first glimpse of Taj Mahal and the tips for travellers, the optical illusions, mysteries and secrets of the mausoleum and the unique facts about the tomb's pinnacle, this is the fourth part of the travelogue in which I'd focus on the the final resting place of Shahjehan and Mumtaz Mahal--their graves inside the Taj. At the gate, there was a board on which it was written that photography is not allowed once we step inside the tomb. At the Humanyun's Tomb [Humayun was Shahjehan's ancestor, great grandfather to be precise] in Delhi, which was built long before Taj Mahal, there is similar arrangement at the sarcophagus--decorative grave at ground floor, real grave in lower storey [underground chamber].
Due to these cenotaphs in the middle of the upper chamber, those walking around won't have their feet over the real graves. As usual, the graves of male and female can be distinguished when you see the top of the 'qabr'. There is a lot to see once you are inside the tomb but you should have the eye to note the intricate details. Always remember that when you get inside such structures, have a look at the ceiling, you must have the eye for details, the inquisitiveness of a traveller and must ask the guide about the artwork. The then Emperor of Hindustan who commanded unprecedented wealth must not have ever imagined that a few centuries later people would throw metal coins at his 'qabr'.
In fact, there is Urs also in memory of Shah Jehan, just like Sufi saints' are remembered and the Urs is held to mark their anniversaries. There are interesting aspects about the reflection of light and the sound affects inside the tomb. There is the story about the lamp, a gift from the British lieutenant governor who visited the tomb in 1909 and many other tales. We haven't even talked about the Char Bagh garden, the mosque, the Basai tower, the turrets, the waterworks--all that formed part of this mausoleum complex which was made on lines of a paradise for Mumtaz Mahal on earth, before her final destination--the heavenly paradise. I have earlier mentioned a few of the illusions in the structure but I forgot to write about the optical trick about Taj's size when you see it from the main gateway--its getting bigger suddenly in a matter of few steps. If you have seen the Taj Mahal, have your ever paid attention to the pinnacle [finial] on top of this magnificent monument's dome? The finial is more than 30 feet high [surprised!] though the height at which it stands, makes it appear smaller to us. In fact, if you walk on the platform of Taj Mahal, you will see the exact shape of the drawing of this finial made on the floor just on the right side of Taj [towards jamat-khana]. However, because Taj is a wide structure, one doesn't immediately get a feeling that it is so high. This is up to the pinnacle on the top of the dome that is higher than its four corner minarets. In fact, when the ASI gets the dome cleaned, it is these iron rings which are used by workers engaged in the restoration job, to go upwards and do the cleaning. It is said that it reflects pinkish huge in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden in moon light. Earlier guides would throw light on the gems and these semi-precious stones would emit light, for example: red shining like bright ruby. Twenty eight different type of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into sang-e-marmar [white marble] to build this magnificent octagonal tomb. Its not just the delicate carvings that surprise visitors to the mausoleum, but there are other aspects too. Imagine how the letters written in the line visible in front of you look the same size as the one on a height of nearly 25 metres! Shirazi somehow knew how the size of words had to be increased gradually so that the normal human eye the font is same for the lower line as well as the topmost line. One can only marvel at his understanding of angles and how human eye functions apart from the finesse in calligraphy. This master craftsmanship--combination of science and art to achieve the perspective and proportion of balance is one of the major reason that Taj Mahal is unrivalled and unparalleled.
The architects, designers of Taj Mahal, achieved absolute perfection in almost everything they accomplished. First, Hoshang Shah's tomb in Mandu [Malwa, MP], Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanaan's tomb in Delhi, Humayun's mausoleum and Itimad-ud-Daula's tomb in Agra.
The finest and best of all was combined and the minarets added when Ustad Isa made the layout plan. Interestingly, the Taj's minarets have a feature that distinguishes it from other towers or minarets of the era. Apart from calligraphy, there are abstract geometric elements and floral motifs that decorate the structure. If you look at the walls of the building, you will see the patterns that create an illusion. You feel that that there six or more sides but when you touch the marble, you realise that there are just three faces. In fact, the patterns are such that without touching the walls you can't figure out the number of facets of a corner. There is no dearth of fascinating facts, architectural and structural fine points about the Taj Mahal.


Hats off to Ustad Ahmad Lahauri and Mir Abdul Karim, the two main architects behind the building of this magnificent structure. You may have heard how Taj Mahal changes its colours but do you know from where you can see the precious stones on the monument sparkle? The gems in fact dazzle your eyes, each of them reflecting sunlight just like a mirror does.
We wouldn't have known this until the guide told us about it and showed the place from where we could see the affect of the light on Taj.
We had just taken off our shoes inside the premises and had climbed the stairs to reach the platform of the mausoleum. It was from near the Jamaatkhana, we were seeing the Taj, when the guide told us to look at the top of the structure.
The use of white marble inlaid with semiprecious stones in construction is a unique aspect of Mughal architecture [and civil engineering] during the reign of Shahjehan who promoted it.
The guide says that the effect of moon is also similar and the 'stones turn into bulbs emitting moonlight', also termed the 'pearl effect'. Another cop now said jokingly, 'ye sara collection hamare liye hai' [the money is being collected for us'.
And everyone has seen someone throwing the coins here just like they throw it from trains into the rivers while crossing over the bridges.
These secret chambers are closed and only the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials open it. This is one of the two rectangular openings [10.5 feet x 4 feet] which is surrounded by a red standstone lattice rail. But because of its design [its too wide and large horizontally as well], the Taj Mahal doesn't look as high compared to a lone minaret [Qutub] with nothing high nearby. In fact, even the height of minarets of the Taj can be discerned only when you reach close to the structure.
The four huge minarets were constructed with such finesse that they tilt 2 degree away from the building. The massive weight of the structure is distributed on this amazing foundation that has the wells beneath it. It is going to be a long travelogue with list of dos and don'ts apart from suggestions and tips. Normal digital cameras that can do recording are allowed and not an eyebrow raised at them.
It was evening when our train reached the Agra Cantt railway station.We didn't have much luggage. We all know it was Mughal emperor Shah Jehan, who had commissioned to build the most beautiful tomb in memory of his beloved wife Arjumand Bano alias Mumtaz Mahal. You may have often seen couplets or rhyming catch-lines written behind heavy vehicles, particularly, trucks and buses on the roads.
But I took out my cell phone, chased for a while and managed to take a snap of the loading auto that had these Urdu couplets written in Hindi [devnagari] script. A newspaper has a Sunday column where readers send interesting catch-lines written on the back of trucks or buses.
Another auto-rickshaw of which I am posting photograph here has this written, 'Sher ka peechha bachche nahiin karte'. Similarly, there are caste-specific, regional and religious assertions also on auto-rickshaws. Apart from Hyderabad (AP), there are vast regions in Karnataka and even Tamil Nadu [yes, TN], where large number of Urdu speakers live. Surprising it may seem but there are towns in Vellore where Urdu magazines still sell more than many North Indian towns viz. Even Gulbarga [in Karnataka] is one of the most important centres for Urdu in contemporary India but it is always ignored. Renowned litterateur Aleem Saba Navedi wrote his landmark 'Tamil Nadu mein Urdu' ie Urdu in Tamil Nadu, which not only throws light on the Urdu speaking populace and culture of Muslims in this region, but also the literary contribution here.
Muslims here largely speak Tamil but there is a region where they do speak Urdu, with a slight Deccani tinge in their accent. Aleem Saba Navedi, himself an eminent writer, has experimented with different genres of Urdu poetry.
Though Urdu ghazal is being penned in Tamil Nadu for almost three centuries now, the book mostly focuses on the period 1824-1986.
But it is not astonishing you if you realise that the state had around 1 million [10 lakh] Urdu speakers as per last census, much more than the number of people who consider Urdu as their mother tongue in a vast North Indian state, Rajathan [just 6 lakh or 0.6 million].
Sharma and Mr Ganu have had a glimpse of some of those hidden chambers hiding vital evidence of Vedic idols and the rape of the Hindu Taj Mahal. Shahjahan has crudely walled the ventilator at the left, meant for air and light from the riverside, up. The mausoleum totally overwhelms the visitor with its imposing structure and majestic beauty. Till now, I had clicked enough photographs on the premises, platform and around this masterpiece of world heritage, marvelling its beauty and architecture.
This is the reason that the original graves are at the lower chamber, the entry to which was stopped some years ago. Though there is lot of security but when you see people still writing their names and making graffiti on the milky marble--damaging the structure, without any concern for our national heritage, you feel that restrictions are necessary. In fact, so chaste that when the rays of light scooping through the double perforated marble screens fall on it, a sort of miracle occurs, because it seems that this marble has been thinly coated with sang-i-tila or gold stone, the precious particles of which have been set in its smooth texture", writes Dr WH Siddiqui, the former Director of ASI. They are so natural and true to life that unless observed closely it is difficult to discern that they are composed of pieces of precious stones so firmly and elegantly embedded in the marble". Once a while, a person tries to take a snap of the graves inside the Taj, but the security personnel inside are alert and immediately stop them from photography. You may spot   the signature of the master calligrapher, in case, the guide tells you and if you can read a bit of Perso-Arabic [Urdu script]. We have skipped a lot including the death of Mumtaz, how she had died and buried first in Burhanpur and later the body was brought and buried here. The exact height of Taj Mahal's pinnacle [up to finial tip] is a little over 73 m above the garden or ground. Stand anywhere and look at the Arabic calligraphy--the verses from the Holy Quran inscribed on the walls. It is a monument that stuns even those who have more scientific bent of mind but have little aesthetic interest. This was third in the series of posts after the First part that was about first view and tips for a visitor, second part that focused on the Secrets and mysteries of the monument.


On the left side is the mosque made of red stone and an exact replica of it--the jamatkhana [also called mehmankhana] is on the right. We saw the amazing drainage system--star shaped holes on the floor and the 'parnalas' (spouts) on the building that aren't so easily visible unless someone draws your attention towards them. They take out the coins on a regular basis but how far they go down these stairs is not known. Each opening goes to the series of mysterious underground subterranean chambers whose total length is 120 yars. Just because there are four minarets and the main structure in the midst being equally high, the visual impact of the combined structure is different, and one doesn't think of it in terms of just elevation.
It was my first proper trip here with the sole aim to admire the beauty of the magnificent mausoleum, which has enchanted the world for almost five centuries now. While you spend thousands of bucks on the trip, don't be a kanjoos [miser] when it comes to getting a GUIDE. There are mysteries, illusions and unique aspects and in order to know them, the guide is a must. Of course, you should book the hotel through a well-known tourists' website, when you plan the trip. If you want to take gifts for your family members, relatives and friends, find yourself a showroom of 'UP Handicraft'. Walking with us on platform, the staircase, then the bridge and then to the platform number 1 until we came out of the station. The focus is mostly North-centric [especially Uttar Pradesh or UP] and to such an extent that the contribution of regions in South is generally ignored.
And this is to such an extent that even contribution of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are ignored. This happens despite the fact that Karnataka has thousands of Urdu medium schools, compared to nil [zero] in UP. The book tells us that if the first ever Urdu newspaper Jam-e-JahaaN-numa was published from Calcutta in 1822, the second Urdu paper Jama'ul Akhbar was published from Madras. In fact, it was long after the Urdu paper Jama'ul Akhbar began publishing here in 1823, that the first Tamil paper began publishing [in 1855]. In this book, he has also mentioned important Urdu poets of Madras, Vaniamadi, Vellore, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Umrabad, Nellore and even those around Bengalore. Readers may be amazed to know that Tamil Nadu has certain towns were Urdu is commonly used as script along with Tamil. In the upper chamber, where visitors are allowed, you see light filtering out through screens and glasses. Each of them is around 1 feet though due to the imposing structure when you look from the ground, you feel that they are much smaller. As a result, when you see them, you feel the minarets have three storeys of equal proportions. We took a few more steps and were now exactly between the jamatkhana and Taj, when we saw the gems shining.
I consulted books on Taj Mahal and later found that these were termed as 'sub-terranian chambers', which were intrinsic part of the structure.
This is just one of the innumerable amazing engineering feats which the makers--engineers, architects, designers and masons, accomplished.
Also, while the construction was going on, to keep the water away during monsoons, the conduits were built. Hence, it is being planned now a days to construct a dam so that the river stream could be kept at a level so that the monument's foundation remains strong. But if you have even the slightest interest in history, archaeology or architecture, then you will be truly astonished with the Taj complex. A daylong visit will not only exhaust you, it doesn't do justice with the monument and other structures in Agra. On this day only the faithful--mostly people in Tajganj, go to the mosque on the premises of the tomb, for prayer [Namaz]. Then go after a proper breakfast, as you are not allowed to take any eatable--not even toffee inside the premises. Yes, you may not choose the man who demands Rs 1,000 or Rs 350 but do get a guide for Rs 200-300. When the guides start approaching you from outside the entrance, you can choose one, but tell him that you need a patient person who can show the structure without hurry. Then, he wanted to know which hotel we were going to stay in and which auto or taxi we would like to take and our budget. He shooed away the mob and we finally managed to take a taxi to the hotel, which we had booked through a travel website [and got a good discount due to online booking]. Isn't it time, Urdu-walas stop being excessively North-centric and obsessed with Uttar Pradesh in matters of Urdu? Close to the boundary from where one could see the Jamna, there was the entry to the 'secret chamber' on the floor. With Jamuna drying, the system [wood in the foundation rotting as it gets dried] would be affected.
Without a guide, you will simply go around the structure marvelling at its beauty but would not be able to see the real magic. Clearly, the large number of tourists arriving here and the investment, had finally prompted local authorities to improve the infrastructure.
All of us rushed to the roof of the hotel room, from where we had been told that we could see a morning glimpse of the Taj. He has taken pains not just to remember but also get the words painted from an artist, it shows how important are these lines to him. The way they get it painted or have catch-lines painted on them, reflect their personality. As per Islamic tradition, the 'qabr' or grave has to be below the ground--buried in the earth below. But if you are tired after going to Agra Fort or Hazrat Salim Chishti' dargah at Fatehpur Sikri, you'd realise how good it is to stay near the Taj. Its better if your handbag has fewer things because it will make the security check easier.



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Comments to «Secret behind taj mahal in hindu»

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