The Taj Mahal is more than just a mausoleum – it is has been described by the poet Rabindranath Tagore as a “teardrop on the cheek of eternity”. As an expression of the height of the Mughal dynasty’s architectural genius in the Indian subcontinent, as the symbol of a bereaved emperor’s love for his empress, and as an inspiration to countless photographers and artists who have tried to capture its many subtle nuances of light and shade, the Taj Mahal continues to captivate people worldwide with its history, its design, and its symbolism of eternal love.
The Taj Mahal is an integrated complex of structures that include a white marble mausoleum containing the tombs of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592 – 1666) and his third wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). The Mughal dynasty built many mausoleums in the Indian subcontinent but the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the finest. The mausoleum is built entirely of white marble, set on a high base or plinth which includes four tall minarets, one on each corner. On either side of the tomb are a mosque and a guest house, while the tomb faces a garden laid out in the “charbagh” style, with a central walkway with fountains and viewing platforms with green spaces and trees on either side. The entrance to the complex is through a grand ornamental gateway, inscribed with Quranic inscriptions and the calligraphed line”O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you.”
Best Time To Visit the Taj Mahal
The best time to visit the Taj Mahal is in the autumn, winter and spring months from October to February. The peak summer months of May to July are best avoided because of the hot weather. The months of October and November,after the monsoon, offer the sight of the Taj at its mesmerising best, as the gardens are lush with greenery and the Yamuna river flows proudly past the Taj Mahal, swollen with post-monsoon rain. Both these factors enhance the overall experience of viewing the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal Timings
The Taj Mahal complex is open for visitors from sunrise to sunset (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on all weekdays, with the exception of Friday. On Fridays the mosque in the Taj Mahal complex is open for prayers from 12 noon to 2 p.m. At this time tourists are not permitted to enter the complex.
On full-moon nights, and one night before and after a full-moon, the Taj Mahal complex is open for visitors who wish to view the Taj by moonlight – a truly spectacular sight. The moonlight viewing sessions are not permitted during the month of Ramadan and on Fridays.