Sunday, 15 November 2009
The mausoleum for the woman who Shah Jahan loved at first sight is inscribed with inscriptions, mostly from the Koran. The planning was begun after Jahan was brought out of secluded mourning by his daughter, as Jahan was on military campaign. The construction, beginning 1632, took 22 years and 22 000 laborers to complete the principle and surrounding buildings and garden.
After a five-year betrothal, Jahan married Arjumand Banu Begum on the auspicious day selected by his sages. Finding her in looks and personality the best of all women of the time, he gave her the name Mumtaj Mahal, "Chosen One of the Palace". She was "the Cradle of Excellence" to others. Jahal mostly put off the rights to his other wives, and for 19 years she was with him and he trusted her, and she was with him throughout his earlier campaigns and the rebellion against his father. They had 14 children together, and Mumtaj died giving birth to the 14th while with Jahan, fighting in the Deccan Plateau.
Jahan's words on the building:
Should the guilty come here for asylum, like a pardon he is set free from sin,
Should a sinner come here all the past is washed out from him,
In the eyes of all this mansion brings soft sighs, This mansion's sight draws sorrowing sighs
it brings tears to the heavenly bodies.
In the world therefore this mausoleum was created
For to display God's glory.
The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads: "O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you."
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَى
مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَى
وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَى
وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَى
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيماً فَآوَى
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالّاً فَهَدَى
وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلاً فَأَغْنَى
فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ
وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّث
يقسم الله سبحانه – بهذين الموحيين . فيربط بين ظواهر الكون
By the morning's glorious light, and by the still night,
Your guardian and lord has not forsaken you, nor is he displeased.
Did He not find you an orphan and shelter you?
Did He not find you lost and guide you?
And did He not find you in need and enrich you?
Therefore, as with an orphan protect him,
As with a beggar, oppress him not,
And as with your Lord's favor, declare it.
On a square plinth, a cube, and sitting on a cylindrical drum, a dome, decorated with lotus design, finial, topped a cowlike heavenward moon;
the cube, octagonal, unequal, completely symmetrical, four long sides, chamfered corner areas, huge vaulted archways framing iwans, multichambered, arched balconies, stacked, gilded finials and spires, faced with a great iwan, four smaller domes in corners, lotus motifed, perforated bases letting light; outside and on the edges of the plinth, four minaret corners, divided by threes by ring balconies, topped by domes, lotus-shaped, gilded finials, frame the plinth.
Traceried, incised, painted, geometric, white inlays on sandstone, dark or black on white marbles, mortared areas stained, painted with constrasting color; floors tiled, blocked constrasting patterened, tessellated; marble bass reliefed, flowers, vines, fruits, geometric; inlayed with 28 stones, yellow, jasper, jade, polished to the level of the walls;
Calligraphy, the thuluth script, jasper, black marble, inlaid white marble.
Bleach white in the early light, warmth peaches, and reddened in the lengths of day.
The inner chamber octagonal, entry from each side, lapidary of gemstones, the pen box and writing tablet caskets, Mumtaj's tomb the 99 Names of God,
The Just, The Equitable; The Forgiver, The Effacing; The One, The Only One; The Last, The End and Ultimate; The Highest, The Exalted; The All-Knowing, The Omniscient; The First, The Pre-Existing; The Supreme Glory, The Most Grand; The Mighty, The Eminent; The Wonderful Originator, The Awesome Inventor; The Awakener, The Resurrector; The Everlasting, The Ever-Present; The Maker from Nothing, The Evolver; The Gracious Benefactor, The Source of Goodness; The All-Seeing, The All-Perceiving; The Expander, The Unfolder; The Hidden, The Inner; The Corrector, The Distresser; The Lord of Majesty and Generosity; The Opener, The Revealer; The All-Forgiving, The Absolver; The Forgiving, The Pardoner; The Self-Sufficient, The Independent; The Guide, The Leader on the Right Path; The Preserver, The Protector; The Judge, The Arbitrator; The Perfectly Wise, The Most Judicious; The Forbearing, The Calm-Abiding; The Praiseworthy, The Laudable; The Truth, The Only Reality; The Accounter, The Reckoner; The Ever-Living, The Alive; The Restorer, The Repairer; The Majestic, The Glorious; The Gatherer, The Uniter; The Greatest, The Most Great; The Generous, The Bountiful; The Inner-Aware, The Reality-Knower; The Humbler, The One who Softens; The Creator, The Planner; The Subtle, The Gracious, The Refined; The All-Glorious, The Majestic; The Noble, The Generous; The Master of the Kingdom; The Ruler, The King; The Preventer, The Defender; The Firm, The Steadfast; The Delayer, The Postponer; The Starter, The Beginner, The Originator; The Disgracer, The Dishonorer; The Bestower of Wealth, The Fulfiller of Needs; The Protector, The Bestower of Security; The Reckoner, The Appraiser; The Giver of Life, The Reviver; The Restorer, The Renewer; The Bestower of Honor, The Strengthener; The Fulfiller of Prayers, The Responsive; The Remover of Fear, The Giver of Tranquility; The Creator of Death, The Life-Taker; The Avenger, The Inflictor of Retribution; The Expediter, The Promoter; The Nourisher, The Sustainer; The Equitable, The Just; The All-Determining, The Prevailing; The Fashioner, The Bestower of Forms; The Supremely Exalted, The Most High; The Supremely Great, The Perfection of Greatness; The Creator of Good, The Auspicious; The Light, The Illuminator, The Enlightenment; The Withholder, The Restrainer; The Able, The Empowered, The Capable; The Ever-Dominant, The Conqueror; The Inexhaustible Strength, The Supremely Strong; The Self-Existing, The Self-Subsisting; The Holiest, The Most Pure; The Exalter, The Uplifter; The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate; The Lovingly Beneficent, Most Kind and Gracious; The Watchful, The All-Observing; The Appointer to the Right Path, The Director; The Kind, The Tenderly Merciful and Consoling; The Supplier, The Provider; The Patiently-Enduring, The Long-Suffering; The Source of Peace, The Flawless; The Satisfier of All Needs, The Eternal; The All-Hearing, The Ever-Listening; The Witness, The Testifier; The Most Grateful, The Most Appreciative; The Acceptor of Repentance, The Oft-Forgiving; The Loving-Kindness, The Most Affectionate; The Liberal Bestower, The Giver of Gifts; The One, The Manifestation of Unity; The Finder, The Resourceful; The Trustee, The Advocate; The Sole Governor, The Friendly Lord; The Protecting Friend, The Nearby Guardian; The Inheritor of All, The Supreme Heir; The All-Embracing, The All-Pervading; The Manifest, The Evident
Jahan's bears, "He traveled from this world to the banquet-hall of Eternity on the night of the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the year 1076 Hijri."
The garden, completed in 1653, is a complex square divided into four and each forth into four sunken flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank forms a line between the mausoleum and the gate, called the "Tank of Abundance" in reference to that recorded as promised to Muhammad. The traditional charbagh format symbolizes a paradise described as an ideal garden with four rivers flowing from a central spring or mountain, separating the garden into north, west, south and east. The garden was filled with roses, daffodils, and fruit trees.
The land was compensated to the Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra. 1000 elephants were used to transport transglucent white marble from Makrana, Rajasthan, jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China, turqoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli from Afganistan, sapphire from Sri Lanka, carnelian from Arabia. A board of architects under imperial supervision planned for 20 000 workers from across Northern India; sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from southern India, stonecutters from Baluchistan, a gold caster from Lahore, a lapidary from Chiranjilal were among the team of masters.