Taj Mahal, which is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, recently faced damage when one of its pillars collapsed in a thunderstorm.
The 12-foot metal pillar at the Darwaza-e-Rauza gate collapsed on Wednesday night (Apr 11) in a thunderstorm speeding over 100 kmph, followed by a rainfall.
Authorities informed restoration work has started.
Here are 10 little-known facts about Taj Mahal:
1. Around 7-8 million people visit this impressive mausoleum annually.
2. Commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal was built by over 20,000 laborers, painters, stone-cutters, and embroidery artists. Over 1,000 elephants were used for transportation of heavy building materials.
3. Completed in around 20 years, Shah Jahan spent Rs. 32 million to build this most loved monument.
4. It was decorated with 28 types of precious and semiprecious jewels. The turquoise came from Tibet, while the jade came from China.
5. History says Shah Jahan wanted to build an identical Black Taj Mahal across the Yamuna river using black marble, which would be his last resting place. But post his death under house arrest by his son Aurangzeb, he was buried next to his wife in the Taj Mahal’s lower sanctum.
6. The Taj Mahal which is a world heritage site changes colour as per the changing lights. In the morning, the Taj Mahal dons a pinkish hue, yellowish in the noon, milky white in the evening and golden at night when lit by the moon.
The Tajmahal Agra Tours website says the locals say the changing colour reflects the changing mood of Queen Mumtaz Mahal.
7. What the visitors see as the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal at the open floor of this monument are not the real ones. The actual tombs are two levels below the raised platform, at garden level. The place is closed for public.
8. The height of the Taj Mahal is 561 feet, 5 feet taller than the Qutub Minar.
9. The Taj Mahal remains closed for visitors every Friday for Jumu’ah prayer as there is a mosque on the premises.
10. There are some theories which say the Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva temple – Tejo Mahalaya – built by Hindu king Jai Singh, almost 300 years before Shah Jahan.
A blog post at Make My Trip says, after the death of the queen, her body was brought to Agra to be laid to rest. The older building was fitted with a new dome and converted into a mausoleum.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.