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Articles

Giants or Jewelers

Should credit for creation of the world-famous Taj Mahal go to Giants or Jewelers?.Clearly, says one group, Shah Jahan's monument to his wife was built by giants. Only men of their size could have designed a plan as immense as the Taj Mahal. Even the first structures to be above ground, the supporting platforms, were the result of a grand vision. The sandstone base measures 970 feet by 365 feet?larger than three football fields end to end.

In this configuration, there still would be more than 100 feet of space on EACH SIDE of the fields for spectators. Although smaller, the marble terrace stacked atop this sandstone is still 313 feet square, larger than two football fields side by side.Most photographs show a tiny structure seemingly small enough to be cupped in a pair of human hands. This is an optical illusion. A walk along the reflection pool to the mausoleum reveals the immensity of the creation that had originally looked petite.The looming arch in front of the entrance to the interior is 90 feet tall, equivalent to a nine-story building.

The door into the room where two caskets are surrounded by a cared marble screen is nearly nine feet high.Giants seem to have been responsible for the dome that ends 242 feet above the marble platform. At the apex of the dome is a cloud-piercing 30-foot spire.

The current spire is the same design as the original but shorter and made of brass. The first finial was covered with 22 kilos of gold, long ago melted off. To the east of the mausoleum, a replica of the original is inlaid in black slate.Alone, the immensity of the Taj Mahal may not have been enough for it to have remained adored as one of the world's most beautiful buildings. A soft, light, even feminine, touch was needed to add intimacy to its massive proportions.

Jewelers, suggest some, were the counterpoint to the Giant's grandeur.Painstakingly, these men inlaid slivers of colored semi-precious stones into large marble panels along the base of the mausoleum. Their patterns are the densest on the caskets themselves.

Matching inlay is found atop each of the four primary arches as well as the twenty-four smaller exterior ones. Around this graceful work, calligraphic jewelers pressed black onyx into white marble resulting in flowing writing that runs up, over, and down the four main arches.The smooth necklace at the base of the dome is a reminder that the Taj Mahal was built in memory of a beautiful queen.

This detail of femininity sparkles in the low light of sunrise and sunset. Nowhere else in the world have Jewelers and Giants intertwined their work as well as they did in Agra, India. One without the other would have resulted in a building of diminished grandeur. It is truly fortunate that people with titanic vision combined their genius with those who were willing to place carefully-shaped bits of colored stone into equally sized holes in marble.The world is richer for having this collaboration of Giants who built the Taj Mahal and Jewelers who finished it.You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the signature box is included.

A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

.Sandra Wilson, author and speaker, describes the Who, What, Sandra Wilson, author and speaker, describes the Who, Why, When, Where and Why of the Taj Mahal for global and armchair travelers. TAJ, her historical fiction, can be seen by visiting http://www.

taj-womanandwonder.com for more information.

By: Sandra Jean Wilson



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