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Structural details, components, costs and materials of Taj Mahal

Structural detailsSectional view of Taj Mahal

  1. On a platform 22' high and 313' square. Each tower is 133 feet tall
  2. Building is 186 feet high and 70 wide.

Corner minarets are 137' tall. Main structure 186' on a side, dome to 187'.
The mausoleum is 57 m (190 ft) square in plan. "The central inner dome is 24.5 m (81 ft) high and 17.7 m (58 ft) in diameter, but is surmounted by an outer shell nearly 61 m (200). The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.
Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.


  1. Finial:
  2. decorative crowning element of the Taj Mahal domes

  3. Lotus decoration:
  4. depiction of lotus flower sculpted on tops of domes

  5. Onion Dome:
  6. massive outer dome of the tomb (also called an amrud or apple dome)

  7. Drum:
  8. cylindrical base of the onion dome, raising it from the main building

  9. Guldasta:
  10. decorative spire attached to the edge of supporting walls

  11. Chattri:
  12. a domed and columned kiosk

  13. Spandrel
  14. upper panels of an archway

  15. Calligrpahy
  16. stylised writing of verses from the Qu'ran framing main arches

  17. Arch
  18. also called pishtaq (Persian word for portal projecting from the facade of a building) and

  19. Dado

    decorative sculpted panels lining lower walls

Costs & Materials

Soft Stone - This art dates back to the era of "making of Taj Mahal". The Eight Wonder of the World is made in Pure Marble in the ancient city of Agra. The work on Soft Stone is the legacy of the craftsmanship done on Taj Mahal . Today, soft stone (not the same as the one used in Taj) is given shape into various decorative and display articles like elephant/dodo bird/other animal shapes, boxes, pencil stands, oil burners, votives and others. The TAJ MAHAL is also made using this stone. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. Over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials during the construction. The translucent white marble was brought from Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab and the jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble. The total cost of the Taj Mahal's construction was about 50 million rupees. At that time, 1 gram of gold was sold for about 1.4 rupees. Based on the October 2005 gold price that would translate to more than 500 million US$. (Comparisons based on the value of gold in two different economic eras are often misleading, however). Material Used
Along with the labourers flocking to Agra, materials for construction also began arriving : principally red sandstone from local quarries and marble dug from the hills of far-off Makrana, slightly southwest of Jaipur in Rajasthan.

Although the treasury was well filled, such prodigious quantities of rare stuffs were required that caravans travelled to all corners of the empire and beyond in search of precious materials. From Chinese Turkestan in Central Asia came Nephrite jade and crystal; from Tibet, turquoise; from upper Burma, yellow amber; from Badakhshan in the high mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, lapis lazuli; from Egypt, chrysolite; from the Indian Ocean, rare shells, coral, and mother-of-pearl.

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