J for Jawab

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The Taj Mahal, still one of the Seven Wonders of the World, attracts millions of visitors each year.  The traditional southern view of the white domed mausoleum doesn’t always demonstrate the sheer scale of the building, nor take into affect the remainder of the integrated structures on the complex and its harmonious proportions.

Jawab - facing west
Jawab – facing west

At the far end of the complex, there are two grand red sandstone buildings that are open to the sides of the tomb. These identical buildings flank the main tomb effectively and help to present the white marble monument in an aesthetic setting and form an integral part of the Taj design.

At the western side is the mosque (masjid) facing east, reported to have been built by Isa Muhammed 1631-1648. More about this when we reach M. On the eastern side is the Jawab (literally “answer”; a building mirroring the mosque) and providing aesthetic balance to the site. At the time of my visit the Jawab was covered in scaffolding, so I wasn’t able to go inside.


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