M for Mosque, Minarets and Mausoleum

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The five principal elements of the Taj Mahal complex—main gateway, garden, mosque, jawab  and mausoleum (including its four minarets)—were conceived and designed as a unified entity.

A couple of weeks ago I used the Jawab to illustrate architecture for the letter J  so this week I am going to show you the Mosque, Minarets and Mausoleum which were mentioned in that post. Remember, the Jawab is simply a building mirroring  the Mosque for symmetry in the design.

Mausoleum and Minarets
Mausoleum and Minarets

At the western side is the mosque (masjid) facing east, reported to have been built by Isa Muhammed 1631-1648. It is built of red sandstone and has one dominant portal known as an iwan.


Either side of the major iwan are two smaller arches sandwiched between four towering pinnacles. The spandrels above the arches are studded with coloured marble inlay and the mosque dados feature naturalistic floral designs.


On the roof and complementing the arches below are three marble-coated domes. Inverted lotus shaped designs cloak the top of the domes, surmounted by gilded finials. On the four corners of the mosque are chattris, or domed kiosks, which have a marble coated veneer.


I will also include a minaret, four of these form part of the mausoleum, which have the same chattris as on the corners of the mosque and jawab.

Minaret and Chattri
Minaret and Chattri

One of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world, the Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

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