Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA
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Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the most fascinating and beautiful monuments of the world. The Indian ruler Shah Jahan ordered it built in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1629. The tomb stands on the bank of the Yamuna River near the city of Agra, in Uttar Pradesh. About 20,000 workers were employed in its construction, completed after some 20 years. The Taj Mahal is made of white marble and rests on a platform of red sandstone. At each corner of the platform stands a slender minaret while a most elegant dome covers the centre of the building. A central room contains two cenotaphs; the bodies of Shah Jahan and his wife lie in a vault below. Passages from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, decorate the outside along with inlaid floral patterns. So perfect are the proportions of the Taj and so exquisite its workmanship that this is really one of the world's most marvellous buildings.
Agra Fort
The principal monuments of Agra - the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri - were built when the Mughal Empire reached its peak in wealth, power and enlightenment, and Agra was the capital and focus of attention. Built in the form of a half moon on the west bank of the Yamuna river, the Agra Fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. In 1565 A.D., Akbar erected the walls and gates and the first buildings inside. His grandson, Shah Jahan, had most of the principal buildings erected, and Aurangzeb, the last great emperor, added the outer ramparts. The fort's colossal walls rise over 20m in height and measure 2.5 km in circumference. They are encircled by a wide moat and contain a maze of buildings that form a small city within a city. Some of the most exquisite buildings are the Halls of Public and Private Audience, Shah Jahan's white marble Khas Mahal Palace, and the Musamman Burj tower where Shah Jahan died after seven years of imprisonment in the fort.
Fatehpur Sikri
The principal monuments of Agra - the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri - were built when the Mughal Empire reached its peak in wealth, power and enlightenment, and Agra was the capital and focus of attention. Built in the form of a half moon on the west bank of the Yamuna river, the Agra Fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. In 1565 A.D., Akbar erected the walls and gates and the first buildings inside. His grandson, Shah Jahan, had most of the principal buildings erected, and Aurangzeb, the last great emperor, added the outer ramparts. The fort's colossal walls rise over 20m in height and measure 2.5 km in circumference. They are encircled by a wide moat and contain a maze of buildings that form a small city within a city. Some of the most exquisite buildings are the Halls of Public and Private Audience, Shah Jahan's white marble Khas Mahal Palace, and the Musamman Burj tower where Shah Jahan died after seven years of imprisonment in the fort.
Ajanta
The Buddhist caves of Ajanta, located 100 km from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, reflect the zenith of ancient Indian art and architecture. Artificial caves were cut in rocky cliffs above a horseshoe shaped valley during the 2nd century B.C. till 650 A.D. to provide prayer halls and place of residence for Buddhist monks. Craft workers cut out the rock and sculpted it whilst others made beautiful murals depicting places, royalty, culture and tales of everyday life of ancient India. As Buddhism gradually declined, the Ajanta caves were abandoned and eventually forgotten. It was as late as in the 19th century that a party of British officers discovered the Ajanta caves. Their isolation contributed to the fine state of preservation of the remarkable paintings
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