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Gardens in Taj Mahal

Introduction

Charbagh Garden Taj Mahal Whether you are in Delhi or Agra, Mughal era mausoleums have some common features. Among them, gardens are the essential part for those high-profile mausoleums. If we travel to Humayun tomb in Delhi or Taj Mahal in Agar, we will find beautiful and well maintained garden area. These gardens are well planned and irrigated. One has to pass through these gardens, before reaching main building. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned Taj Mahal in 1632 as the final resting place for Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved wife. The domed building, which stands within spacious grounds, is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture. Not only is it a World Heritage Site, but it's also been voted as one of the "New7Wonders of the World." Throughout this white marble monument, you'll see inlaid gemstones, while intricate carvings adorn interior walls. Taj Mahal is an extensive complex of buildings and gardens that extends over 22.44 hectares and includes subsidiary tombs, waterworks infrastructure, the small town of 'Taj Ganj' and a 'moonlight garden' to the north of the river.

Gardens

Taj Mahal tour is not only about the seeing the mausoleum in white marble, but also its surroundings, especially the Taj Garden - Charbagh. In Islamic style of architecture, the garden is not just another feature but has a well-defined meaning and it symbolizes the spirituality. The concept of Char Bagh was brought from Persian Timurid gardens by one of the Mughals. It has been laid out according to the description of Paradise in the holy book of Quran. According to Islamic beliefs, Paradise consists of a garden and four rivers, one of milk, one of honey, one of water and one of vine with lush green trees, beautiful flowers and plants as the Taj Mahal Garden was designed. Char Bagh was the first of its kind designed in the Indian sub-continent with strong symbolic meanings and carrying out varied functions. This Persian style square shaped garden was subdivided into four equal parts. The structure of the garden and its symbolism are well-known in mystic Islamic texts. Further, the Islamic texts symbolize the garden as a paradise, filled with plenty of trees, flowers, and plants. On entering the Taj Gateway, you can view a sprawling garden in front of you going all the way up to the plinth of the Taj. The Taj Garden covers most part of the Taj complex in Agra. Out of the total area of the Taj garden, it extends an area of 300 meter by 300 meter distance. Based on geometric arrangements of nature, not even single element looks artificial. The guiding principle in creating this garden is one of the symmetry and it can be experienced everywhere.

The entire garden is divided into four parts, with two marble canals studded with fountains crossing in the center. In each quarter portion, there are 16 flowerbeds that have been divided by stone-paved raised pathways. It is said that even each of the flowerbed was planted with 400 plants. The trees of the Taj garden are either that of Cyprus (signifying death) or of the fruit bearing type (signifying life) and even they are arranged in a symmetrical pattern. Taj Mahal occupies the north-end corner of the garden, instead of being in the center. In fact, at the center of the garden, between the Taj and its gateway, is a raised marble lotus-tank with a cusped border, which reflects the Taj in its waters. The four walkways that are although identical are differentiated through their context. In fact, the symmetry with which the whole garden has been organized and laid out, can be clearly observed and experienced as one can get an unhindered view of the mausoleum from any spot. The raised white marble platform at the centre of the walkways, namely "chabutra" includes a pool with five fountains. The four marble banks around the pool were added later with the order of Lord Curzon in 1907.

Irrigation System

In Taj Mahal, irrigation mechanism was a much planned and thought out design. It was no less than a challenge to ensure even pressure of water in all the fountains and the architect came up with an intelligent plan for installing the correct Taj Mahal water devices. While checking out the unique architecture of the marble fountains, you can hear the process of how water was drawn from the river to the Garden. Known as purs, the rope and bullock combination was used to draw water from the river and then was transferred into a massive tank located within the complex. The water was again shifted from this tank to another tank through an overhead water channel. Purs played an important role in transferring water to the three supply water tanks. One of these water tanks had water mouths at the eastern wall. Water was supplied through these water mouths to the fountains, which are located on the red sandstone plinth under the marble structure; these pipelines are completely underground without disturbing the beauty of the monument. The pipes of the fountains were not directly connected to the copper pipes that would supply water to them. Instead, each fountain was fitted with a copper pot underneath in which the water would get collected first and then due to pressure it would thrust the water upwards. It is an amazing fact that though placed hundreds of years ago, these pipelines are still intact and usable. Hence explore Taj Mahal just not to witness its sublime beauty but also to get a view of amazing ancient engineering.

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