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.

29 thoughts on “M for Mosque, Minarets and Mausoleum”

  1. The good old Taj is providing lots of ammunition for your posts lately Jude, and a magnificent edifice it surely is!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. Dead right Pete! India has provided me with quite a few buildings for the challenge, but I think this is the last you’ll see of the Taj 🙂

    1. It is amazing and there is so much more to it than the mausoleum, undeniably beautiful as it is. The whole site is so superbly designed, every building carefully considered in its place and the craftsmanship is stunning.

    1. First time 1973, quiet and less pollution. Hardly any photos from that trip though. This trip was in 2008 almost 35 years to the day since my first visit. It was such a mission to get there though and we only had 45 minutes in the end! I was fuming! Ran around like a mad thing taking as many photos as I could. Especially the finer detail that often gets overlooked.

  2. You’re always a step ahead of me! (sniff 😦 ) I just followed you commenting on Sherri’s Dubrovnik (I was there round about the same time, too) and I’ve barely started my ‘M’ post! M is for ‘must try harder!’ 🙂 Lovely shots, Jude.

    1. Thanks Jo, I already had this post ready as I did it the same time as the Jawab, and just kept it as a draft until today!

      1. It’s ok! I’m not jealous of your organisational skills! I’m enjoying plodding through my ‘M’. Seriously! 🙂

        1. We both referred to UNESCO in our posts today Jude! I’ve never visited a Mosque, the architecture does look very interesting and ornate. The Taj Mahal is a place I would be fascinated to visit, but of course it always makes me think of Brighton!
          Great shots as always 🙂 xx

        2. Now you’ve done it. I am going to have to look up other UNESCO sites and see if I have been to any of them!

    1. Thanks Suzy. I also found it mind-blowing back in 1973. I hadn’t, and still haven’t, seen anything man-made like it. I only wish I’d taken more notice of the rest of the site then as these days it is very crowded.

  3. I agree Jude the Taj Mahal is the most beautiful building I have ever seen I just stood in awe before it. The sheer size is overwhelming as I thought it seemed much smaller in photos. I have a photo taken from the same spot with the perfect reflection and the size of the people give some Idea of the size. Your post brought back lovely memories

    1. I think it looks small in photos because you don’t usually see it in context with the rest of the site. I’m glad this brings back happy memories, that’s what it’s all about 🙂

  4. hey Jude,
    not every woman got a man, who built a house like this for her – nevertheless I hope, you are glad where you’re living?

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